Full text of "Juliet"
• r«, ..•.*.' i
.4 I •'
U N I VERS ITY
or 1LLI NOIS
" The lyfe so short, the craft so long to learn,
The assay so hard, so s?i irp the conquering."
" I ask thee for a faithful love,
Through constant watching, wise."
IN THREE VOLUMES.
RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON ST.
Ijublisjws in ©rbinarg to |jcr gtajestg ibe Quern.
Truth will Out l
Two Letters 2 5
"It is You!" 54
The Gilberts n 5
What Exile from Himself can Flee?" . 143
"Where, Why, When?" 245
TRUTH WILL OUT.
The more Juliet thought of this douche the
less she liked it. It had pulled her up sud-
denly just as she was feeling certain that sh:i
could safely enter Paradise ; and it was not
so much the remark itself as the caution of it
that struck her. Whatever BrunskuTs mis-
givings were, he evidently inclined to the
utmost limit of charity ; and in this case she
felt somehow as though the charity assumed
"After all, I shall have to discuss him
with Miss Gliddon," she thought, after long
reflection, in which a feeling of uneasiness
increased upon her, in spite of all effort to
throw it off; "and I would so much rather
not have done so ! Women are far quicker
than men ; but I believe, however far I were
to push it with Brunskill, I should get no-
thing more out of him, for evidently it is not
yet a case of conviction, but only of impres-
She had not the faintest idea that the
conviction was to rush upon herself first, and
that, too, in overwhelming force.
"What a fine man Brunskill is," she said,
that same evening, when she and Miss
Gliddon were knitting over the fire. They
had just been having a learned discussion
over the intricacies of knitting, Miss Gliddon
having been unable to repress her delighted
astonishment when Juliet came down with
a half-finished stocking in her hands, and
TRUTH WILL OUT
proved herself as ready to be silent or to
listen as to talk.
" He's an uncommonly fine fellow," Miss
Gliddon said. " Always impresses one some-
how as having distinguishing merits above
the average, and yet in his own opinion he
is undeniably faulty. It distresses him to be
told he is unusually good. I believe he con-
siders himself one of the most selfish of men,
instead of which he is the most unselfish.''
" Does he ever say anything about his
early life?" Juliet asked.
11 Never a word, my dear. It is as closely
hidden as a snail in its shell. I confess to
feeling inquisitive ; but he is the sort of man
to abash one by his simple surprise if one be
so vulgar as to show one's curiosity. He has
some history, of course."
" He told me to-day that he came here
from Carlisle," said Juliet ; "but I am certain
he only told me so much as that because he
feared my suspicions were tending in another
direction that might prove the right one. I
always felt that he had a history, that some
mystery was attached to him ; but if it were
nothing personally shameful, why should he
not divulge it ? Of course, it's impossible to
think for a moment that he has done anything
scandalous. Do you think he had a trouble
— a disappointment — before coming here ?'
" Do you mean in love ? I used to think
that might be the sore point ; but I don't
now. I'm certain he's the man only to care
for one girl, and that passionately, with the
devotion of his whole life. He is so chival-
rous ; so romantic. His simplicity is as-
''What do you mean?' Juliet asked,
putting down her knitting and leaning back
in her chair.
"Well, this is his creed in those mat-
ters," Miss Gliddon said, in an aggrieved
tone, as though resentful of her own admira-
tion of it : " He loves a girl, and has
TRUTH WILL OUT
done for years, trying again and again to
show her his love, but not yet having suf-
ficient to permit him to speak to her. He
lives in alternate hope and fear, that she
understands him or does not. But she is
unselfconscious, not greed v of admiration,
caring, indeed, nothing about admiration, but
only for affection. She does not understand
him, her fancy drifts to a bolder man of
selfish assurance, who tells her outright that
he loves her ; and one day Brunskill awakes
to the fact that her heart is not his but that
other's. It neither kills nor embitters him.
Once assured that she is happy, he says
cheerfully that it is all right. ' She is happy.
If she is, I shall be in thinking of her. I
shall always love her.' It's the sort of thing
that I call a tragedy ; but I don't suppose he
even thinks sufficiently of himself to do
so much as that," Miss Gliddon finished,
"He has no spirit," Juliet exclaimed.
"He would make a good husband ; he should
marry some one else."
" He never would."
" Has he told you all this ? '
"Oh, dear, no! He has never named it.
But he looks, he acts, he is determined that
it shall help him to do better work in the
world than he has done before. He thinks
he has been a dreamer ; now he will be an
" Good gracious ! how you think about
each other here ! "
" We have plenty of time, and there is no
whirl of new faces about us. Most of us both
rise and set, in or about one spot, you know.
Nothing interests us so much as each other."
"I see," said Juliet. " You make the
most of the little that happens, and you mean
that this really has been happening to Mr.
Brunskill. Who is the girl ? I should not
have thought there was anyone here likely to
take his fancy."
TRUTH WILL OUT.
" There is no one but her, certainly/' Miss
Gliddon said. " Molly Murdock, of Alder-
Juliet laughed, sitting bolt upright, with
" Why, he would be the very husband
for her ! " she exclaimed. " And why in the
world won't she have him, the goose ? Oh,
you said she was fond of some one else ;
some worthless, I suppose. Who is it ? '
" Her cousin, Noll Ormrod. He is en-
gaged to her," said Miss Gliddon.
" Impossible!' Juliet exclaimed.
Her voice was so sharp, so harsh, that
Miss Gliddon looked up in astonishment.
" Why, my dear ? " she asked, mildly.
" Why!" A thousand stinging reasons
were buzzing in her brain, setting it on fire,
while a steel-cold scintillation seemed to con-
tradict it in her eyes ! But her presence of
mind did not forsake her. She jerked her
ball of wool off her lap, it rolled along the
floor, and she stooped to pick it up, drawing
it towards her with lengthened care. Then
she proceeded to re-wind it, her head held
proudly, her hands steady.
They talked on some time longer. Miss
Gliddon's surprise had not amounted to sus-
picion, and Juliet was perfectly composed.
It was easy to extract full details. She knew
from the moment of the announcement that
there was no mistake, no loop-hole, even the
size of a pin's head, in which to frame any
extenuation ; the truth mi^ht stin^ and tingle
at every turn, but nothing could either excuse
or justify Ormrod's course of conduct. It
had been cruel and cowardly.
In the white heat of the shock, before
rage had given way to misery, she called it
by worse names than those ; dubbed herself
fool ! in stern scorn of her weakness, and
her trust, and her belief in him. This, that
had come to pass, was the last thing of which
she would have thought ; the only thing she
TRUTH WILL OUT.
had not imagined. It was not that she in-
ferred that he did not love her. She knew
he did, and considered the fact a dishonour, a
humiliation. But he had deceived her, and
not her so wickedly, so heartlessly, as another
woman to whom he was pledged, who had a
claim upon him, and probably knew as little
as she herself had done, that she was deceived.
She became intensely wishful to see Molly.
What was this girl, her rival, like ?
So this was the result of Brunskill's inter-
est, of Ormrod's brotherliness, of the readings
of master and pupils in the fields, the fasci-
nating attention to Evangeline, and Miles
Standish, and Enoch Arden, and such like
sickly stuff, easy of digestion, and conducive
to rampant sentimentality ! She was strong
enough to put self aside, to view it dispas-
sionately and impartially for a while, to
realize Ormrod's reckless selfishness. Bruns-
kill might have withstood the fascinations
and allurements of the world ; have walked
among fair and clever women of fashion and
wit, still wholly true-hearted and pure-souled
to the one woman left among the hills like a
jewel in its setting, loving her the more for the
distance, and her undecked simplicity's sake ;
but he was a rare man, and Ormrod, no,
Ormrod was not. Juliet thought she had
drawn a prize ; she looked at it now on all
sides, and found it was a blank. Simply to
gratify himself must Ormrod have done this
thing, in utter thoughtless selfishness pledged
himself to the first who had taken his fancy,
won her love and trust, and turned them into
shuttlecocks without a qualm, or a pang, or
a single conscientious scruple, then degraded
another woman by transferring his attentions
to her. Naturally, the question occurred to
her — '"What is his affection worth?' She
thought she had had the first-fruits, instead
of which, he had perjured himself to give her
anything. She recalled his guilty glance at
her, his urgent entreaty to her not to come to
TRUTH WILL OUT. n
Moorhead, and yet he had let her come with-
out a word of preparation. After all — could
he love her, and yet do her this great wrong ?
Could he know that she loved him ? Pray
God that he did not !
She was standing in her own room, the
candle extinguished, the blind up, and the
moonshine pouring in upon her white arms,
and the heavy masses of her unbound hair.
Her face was drawn and haggard, her eyes
dim and wild. Suddenly her arms went up.
above her head in the old action, that seemed
to fling off misery and compel relief, to chisel
light through the storm-drifts.
11 I suffer ! " she said aloud, in a low voice
of dull hopelessness.
And then, in a moment, came a sharp
-Oh, Noll, Noll, Noll!"
A few days after this they went to Alder-
dale. She knew the full details now of
Molly's illness. At first she had clutched at
a vain hope. Was it possible that Ormrod
had written to her to break off his engage-
ment, and that grief had increased her sus-
ceptibility to disease and delirium ? But
what good would such a peremptory course
of action do ? It would avail nothing. She
saw clearly, though he might not, that it
would only have made one more unhappy
It was a tiring" walk for her that daw to
Alderdale ; a close and sultrv autumn dav
when the sense of decaying vegetation, the
rank earthy smells, the warm glories of crim-
soning mountain-ash, and golden sycamore,
and russet oak, yield the depressing sense
that the trees will soon be bare, dead leaves
rattling in the wind, grass bound in frost or
covered in snow ; that winter is coming, and
what hopes the year has fulfilled, are gar-
nered. To Juliet, it seemed that the fields
were interminable, the irregularities of the
TRUTH WILL OUT 13
ground wearying, beyond any she had ever
known. Miss Gliddon was in a talkative
mood ; had a history to repeat about every
farmstead they passed, clod-hopping details
of all the Eliases, and Richards, and Simons,
and Bettys, and Pollys, and Margets, who
were " getting-up," or " getting-on," from end
to end of the parish. Fortunately, her volu-
bility was, in itself, conclusive, and Juliet's
preoccupied assents and dissents did not pass
as so random as they were.
She roused from her abstraction as they
neared Alderdale, looking round at it all in
vivid remembrance. The old, time-worn
Grange looked no older for the years that
had passed since she last saw it, merely
adding to its hoary lichens and patches of
amber moss. Indeed, what were a few years
to it? It had withstood the centuries ; housed
travellers in the times of the Henrys ; seen
fat monks come from Fountains Abbey to
cast keen calculative eyes over the flocks
and their shepherds, given a night's lodging
to good Queen Bess, sent forth its fighting
men to swell Cromwell's armies. Molly
Murdock's girlhood was as a drop into the
ocean, where all these things were ; the hoar
house, the big plane trees, the river slipping
by, the brown moors round, had seen many
a stirring sight in days gone by, rejoiced in
many a feast and dignity. It was all basking
in the sun to-day, set grey and serene amid
the glory of gold bracken edges and crimson
barberry in the garden, and great swing-
ing bunches of red berries on the rowan
Murdock was in the kitchen when they
went in, standing on a stool, and chalking
his accounts on one of the massive oak
beams, but he dropped off as soon as he saw
them, and went out without speaking. Xo
one else was visible, the sand on the floor
crunched under their tread ; now and then
the tire hissed, as it curled round some sappy
TRUTH WILL OUT. 15
faggots laid athwart it. Juliet felt the silent
emptiness keenly. Upstairs they could hear
voices. Miss Gliddon said she was going
upstairs, would Juliet come too ? There was
no danger of any kind, no infection to fear, no
chance of a stranger doing Molly harm. The
crisis had not been reached yet ; she would
be unconscious, perhaps delirious, that was
all. The colour flew to Juliet's face. For
a moment she hesitated, then followed reso-
Tamar met them at the bedroom door.
Molly was talking, but a word was rarely
distinguishable ; the first horror had spent
itself, and her strength was at a low ebb. Miss
Gliddon stooped and kissed her. Juliet took
hold of one of the posts at the bottom of
the bed, and compelled herself to look at the
flushed face on the pillows. Her look was
eager, scrutinizing, hopeful, in spite of her
best self — that there might not be prettiness
or refinement in that face. But there were
1 6 JULIET.
both, and she felt herself hardening — harden-
ing into ice-cold reserve, without one impulse
to sympathy or pity. Wild thoughts, how-
ever, were surging through her brain ; her
touch on the bed-post became a clutch. Was
this girl going to die ? Would not this
burning, exhausting fever kill her or mar her,
leave her alive perhaps, but blind or deaf, or
miserably weak, and then irritable and un-
lovely ? Of what would it rob her ? Surely
of something, one of the gifts nature had
bestowed on her ; it must have some pur-
pose, else why had it been sent ? Then her
eyes fell on Molly's hair that lay disordered
on the pillow ; it was lovely hair, crisp,
wavy, glossy brown, meshed with gold — it
would be something that she should lose
Miss Gliddon and Tamar were talking all
the time about Murdock and Brunskill. It
seemed that there were particulars still to be
heard for which there had been no opportu-
TRUTH WILL OUT. 17
nity in her first visit. Tamar was just finish-
ing off the story in an emphatic undertone
and her strongest vernacular.
" his face, why it was deathly, he
has sike feelings, sae Strang. Me and the
others speered him coming with her pressed
tull him, and I made to tak her, but he
motioned-like upstairs, and sae I went first
and he cam on, and Hgged her doon on her
bed, that had niver been hollowed all night ;
and then he bent ower and looked, ay, with
a whole warld o' love in his eyes, and then
he kissed her, not in a hurry, but all saft, as
if she'd been dead and in her coffin and cold.
But for all it war sae saft, it war a mighty kiss,
it cracked on sae much that he'd never said
out. It gave me a choke in my throat, it
did that. Eh, it war sike a consarn alto-
gether. I said nowt, I couldna, and that's
the truth. I thought on Noll, but somehow
she seemed more his, the Master's, in God's
siVht. Then he off down, the stairs like a
VOL. II. 2
1 8 JULIET.
flash, and galloped seven mile frev here to
Newbrig in half an "
Just then Juliet touched her arm, pointing
to Molly's hair.
" I would cut it off if I were you," she
said, " I would indeed. It would relieve her
head ; when we all had fever at Marshlands,
they did it at once."
" What a notion," cried Tamar, eyeing
" But if it would do her <^ood ■ I know it
is usual," said Miss Gliddon.
" It is," said Juliet, dispassionately. u It
is the very best thing. Give me some
scissors ; I wonder the doctor has not
ordered it. It will grow again ; mine has,
"Well, I'll do it," said Tamar, reluctantly
" Let me," said Juliet, holding out her
hand, " I am more skilful. I will not hurt
TRUTH WILL OUT 19
There was an imperativeness in her man-
ner that took them by storm. Tamar stared
at her and yielded ; Miss Gliddon attributed
her anxiety to pity and a natural wish to
Juliet took the scissors with the ready
cool nerve of a surgeon, and at once clipped
off what lay round the brilliantly-flushed face,
passing each long tress to Tamar. But she
could not reach all, without raising Molly's
head. Very deftly she put her arm beneath
it, and had just drawn out another, when she
was startled to see that Molly's eyes were
fixed upon her in apparent consciousness,
and at the same moment she uttered the first
words they had been able to distinguish.
" Noll," she said, in a low wavering voice,
" the rowans are red now, and the rust's
coming on the ling again. Noll, Noll, when
will you come again ? "
At the first word Juliet had stopped,
paralyzed by the sound of that name on
which she dwelt so passionately in her own
mind ; when the wistful voice wavered on, she
could bear it no longer. The scissors fell
from her hand as she drew herself up and
dragged her arm away, turning abruptly and
pushing Tamar aside unceremoniously. They
heard her run downstairs, as they looked
at each other in silent astonishment, Miss
Gliddon inclined to be inquiring, Tamar
" We must finish the job," she said, taking
up the scissors, " and none leave the poor
lass like a bush lopped all of one side. So
yon's Passon Laybourne's lass. Well, she
alius war a fierce one, and she's none bet-
tered. Eh, baarn, what a wankly trick, to
be sure ! '
Juliet ran right through the kitchen with
her hands before her, as though she were
either blind or pushing something away from
her; and she crossed the calf-garth to the
brawling Alder beck. Among the crowding
TR UTH U 'ILL OUT. 2 1
rowans and birk-trees there was a great tor-
toise-stone, and she jumped over to it, and
sat down with her hands clasped round her
knees, and the hard indifference of bitter
passion that knows itself to be useless, settling
on her proud, pale face. Already she was
ashamed of the peurile malice of her deed —
ashamed and disdainful — yet jostled by a
flood of conflicting feelings so urgent, so
assertive, that now one was uppermost, then
another, and she had not time to grasp
What had possessed her to touch Molly's
hair? If she wanted Ormrod, if she deter-
mined she would have him, if she really re-
solved to undertake and compass her own
humiliation, could it be possible that she
had thought, as she clutched that bedpost
and grasped those scissors, that she could
not win him from this dales-girl, except by
robbing her of her lovely hair ? She laughed
aloud — a miserable, hollow T laugh, utterly
mirthless and spiritless. She knew her power.
Her pulses quickened and thrilled, the warm
blood tingled to her very finger-ends, as she
thought of that look he had given her in the
drawing-room in Ouin's house — such a look
as only one woman can win from a man, no
matter what has happened before or will
happen after — a look in which love was
quickened by despair. She asked herself
now if she would have had him tell her, had
she had any suspicion of the nature of his
secret. She wondered what she would have
done, how she would have acted, what
amount of fortitude or weakness she would
have shown, how far she would have belied
herself, how far betrayed herself. " Had he
had the audacity to ask me, I should assur-
edly have kissed him," she thought ; " but
then I should have loathed myself after, and
him through myself. As it is, I don't hate
him, and I may not — there is a kiss still to
think of, still to think of. And what if I
TRUTH WILL OUT 23
never see him again — never ? Can I bear
it ? Her happiness is in my hands — and yet
it is not. He will never marry her, nor
would she be happy with him. Ah ! what
must I do ? what must I do ? I f I were not
here with the hills and moors, and this air of
freedom, I think I should go mad ! "
She sat on that stone a long time. From
it she looked straight upon the swart brown
moors that topped the benty pastures. She
could hear sounds about the house — the
sharpening of a scythe on the whetstone ;
the barking of a dog as a gate clashed and
the doctor's horse trotted into the yard.
Miss Gliddon came out to her, and asked
her to go in and have some tea ; but she
would not, preferring her solitude and water
laved out of the beck in her hollowed
" We will just wait to hear what the
doctor says," Miss Gliddon said, and saun-
tered away across the calf-garth again, her
hands clasped behind her, her spectacled
eyes peering observantly from beneath the
broad brim of her hat.
" She is utterly unsuspicious," thought
Juliet, watching her keenly.
Juliet, however, was wrong. Miss Glicldon
was not utterly unsuspicious — quite the re-
verse. She remembered the change in Juliet's
manner, the harshness of her voice, when she
named Ormrod's engagement, and the effect
of Molly's words upon her ; above all, the
electrified look on her face when the name
of Noll was uttered, made her don her
" Do you know, I feel sure Juliet has
been seeing a ^ood deal of Ormrod in Lon-
don ? " she said to Brunskill.
" She has met him, certainly, for she told
me so. I suppose the Quins and Mompes-
sons would be constantly together, and natu-
rally Miss Laybourne would be interested in
Moorhead," he replied.
" It's much to me if he is not interested
in her," said Miss Gliddon. " Imagine what
she'll be, dressed in an evening ! She is a
most fascinating girl, takes you so by sur-
prise with the varying of her moods— now so
impetuous, then so winning. And her sing-
ing — you shall hear her to-night. Do you
know, I think I .will write to Doctor Thorns,
and ask him what has been cmincr on p She
is very reticent on the point — won't enter
" I wouldn't, if I were you," said Bruns-
kill. " What orood would it do to write to
him? He mightn't know; and if he did,
still no good purpose would be served. It
would be very natural for Ormrod to be
interested in her. She is a remarkablv fine
TWO LETTERS. 27
" You look very well together," said Miss
Gliddon, "both being so tall and dark."
11 Oh no ; contrasts are best," said Brun-
skill, with a quiet smile.
He had come up to stay at the Vicarage
now, and had met Juliet in the garden as he
went in. She had not spoken to him ; simply
held out her hand and given him a long look,
inexplicably eloquent. He did not know
how much she now knew ; but it struck him
somehow that she wished to convey her
sense of some electric bond of sympathy
between them, some mutual trouble to be
grappled with and conquered.
" I want immensely to go on to the
Moors," she said at dinner. " But, strange
to say, I don't want to go alone. Will you
come with me, Mr. Brunskill, to the rocks
above Thedra ? That used to be our fa-
vourite point in the whole Dale."
This was the first and the only allusion
she made to Ted ; yet it was evident in many
little ways that she thought much of him, that
association held vigorous sway over her, and
that everything was compared with what had
been. But they did not know that a far
greater love had usurped the sisterly, that
the place she could least bear to pass, was
the carpenter's shop at the end of the village,
where Will Ormrod touched his cap to her,
and Jocky eyed her with open admiration,
and Mrs. Ormrod dusted a chair with her
apron and asked her to sit down.
"Our Noll's in Lunnon now." she said
once, and was launching out into proud
details of his handsome looks and cleverness ;
but Juliet rose abruptly, gathered her cloak
about her, and departed without a word.
Their ignorant civilitv stilled her.
" Don't vou wonder what I have been
doing?' Juliet said, as she and Brunskill
climbed the hill behind the Vicarage. She
had brought an alpenstock with her as of old.
and when they stopped to look back down
the vallev and recover their breath, she
planted it firmly, leaning upon it and showing
off her figure, in its trimly-fitting serge, to full
advantage. Her hat was off too, her hands
ungloved, she was enjoying herself uncon-
ventionally once more.
" Do you know how much I owe to
Doctor Thorns ? ' she asked. " He is my
i best and truest friend ; his only fault is that
he is rather too clever."
"You must see a great deal of him," said
" Yes, a very great deal. I lived with
them nearly two years and read with him.
Then he sent me abroad, and then they joined
me, and we travelled together. But on the
whole, 1 like him best at Coombe Rectory ; he
has individualized it so thoroughly, personi-
fied his ruggedestand gentlest ideas in every
corner. Ah ! it is such a cosy, quiet place.
It has a big garden round it, full of roses, so
tall that he can scarcely see over them into
3 o JULIET.
the churchyard ; and it's like fairyland to be
in that garden on a summer evening, when
the banks are one mass of bloom, tinted like
an Alpine sunset, and the dew is falling and
the nightingales singing. Then is the time
when he talks his best, when he is not
ashamed to put off his bluntness and eccen-
tricities like a husk, and to show of what fine
stuff his soul and heart are made — stuff that
thrills at one's touch like a beautiful-toned
Cremona violin. If a woman really is the
more gentle and subtly formed, then he is
like a woman for feeling and delicate intui-
tion. Only he hides it, draws that husk over
him again with daylight, and is the more
abrupt and uncompromising the more he
feels. He is always either a rusty, blunted
old sword, making awkward, random slashes
here and there, justly or unjustly, without
any discrimination, or he is delicate and
true as a new, bright poniard, / severing
a hair. You should see the Rectory ;
TWO LETTERS. 31
you would enjoy it ; his things look
" That sounds as though you think me
made for cabals."
" Perhaps I do,' said Juliet, nodding her
head. " I shall be very sorry to leave the
Rectory. It is much more my home than
" But what is going to happen to you that
you should talk of leaving — Coombe, I sup-
pose you mean ? "
" Nothing is happening to me," she said.
" But a great deal is happening to the Mom-
pessons. Used you to see much of the
Quins when they came to the Church
House ? "
" As little as possible," Brunskill said.
" But what is happening to the Mom-
pessons ? "
"Well, you know Isabel Quin ? She is
going to marry her cousin, Henry Mom-
pesson, in spite of all the risk attending his
possession of the property. And Mrs.
Ouin is most ambitious for her. I think
it would send her wild if they lost the
property, after all ; and they may any
" Oh ! I should think there is no risk
now," said Brunskill.
" Risk of what ? " Juliet asked.
" Of the elder son, or his heir, turning
"If he be dead, he may have left more
than one child."
" Certainly, that is possible," said Brun-
He stooped, as he spoke, to gather a sprig
of white heather, which his quick eye had
seen on the edge of a peaty pool. Juliet
stopped too, looking at him with quick, keen
scrutiny, but his composed, imperturbable fat
as he silently gave her the rare omen of good
luck, betrayed nothing. Either there really
was nothing to betray, or long discipline had
TWO LETTERS. 33
given him perfect, unflinching command of
" You seem to know the intricacies of
the case," she said.
" I suppose such unfortunate family affairs
will get about," he said, coolly ; " your father
has named it to me, and the Gliddons too,
and I fancy it is known in Moorhead, vaguely,
You see the Quins used often to be here,
and I have heard people speculate over
Isabel's marriage with this identical young
fellow. They will want Coombe, I sup-
" Oh* yes ; and we shall have to move to
the Dower-house, about five miles away, out.
of Doctor Thorns' parish."
" Ah ! that is a pity," he said.
It was a perfectly conventional remark,
uttered conventionally, but he had suddenly
changed colour, flushed a warm dull red, and
an eager, wistful look had stolen into his
eyes. Juliet, however, was not looking at
him, being intent at the moment on her own
" And is the Dower-house waiting for the
dowager ? " he asked.
" No. It has not been occupied by a
dowager for generations. Some farmers live
in it, named Gilbert. It was Margaret Gil-
bert with whom Richard Mompesson ran
away. The Gilberts won't like to leave, but
they must, for Mrs. Mompesson w r ishes to
live on the estate, and it is the only house
likely for her. Even that, will be a great
change from Coombe."
" I should think the Doctor too will miss
you," said Brunskill.
11 Oh yes," said Juliet, smiling, " I don't
know for which of us it will be the
worst. We are so accustomed to each
" But some day you would have to part
" By death?"
TWO LETTERS. 35
" No. Perhaps by marriage. Surely you
He was looking at her, and was asto-
nished by the change that crossed her face,
its hardening and coldness.
" I don't think I shall marry," she said,
" Oh surely — " he began, involuntarily.
" You don't," she said.
"I — I cannot — a simple conclusive
reason," he said quietly.
" I think I have the same."
" You think ! — you won't think so always,
not even long ; it is unnatural."
" Why should it be ? Perhaps you
imagine it would be to your advantage that I
should marry," Juliet exclaimed, impulsively.
" I don't in the least know what you
mean," he said, looking straight into her eyes,
" I was not thinking of myself at all, but if
you don't take care you may make me under-
stand," he added.
Juliet shivered ; then laughed, and held
out her hand.
" Foreive me ! " she said, " I am not
quite ruthless. I was trying to trample upon
myself, not you ; but it got into the wrong
" You are a strange girl," he said, and
took her proffered hand wistfully, but dropped
it without saying what he looked as though
he were going to say; and Juliet, quick to
see that something had been on his very
lips, went on with disappointment. She did
not care for aphorisms, or homilies, or exhor-
tations, but from Brunskill they would have
seemed to drop like seed into the furrow.
She was gradually gaining the conviction
that he was a man who could exert great
influence, and that if he exerted it over her,
it would be to her good.
44 Isabel is so fond of her cousin," she
said, presently. " She will make him a good
wife. If misfortune does overtake them, she
TWO LETTERS. 37
is the very woman to tide him well over it.
He is rather morose ; perhaps from dwelling
upon the insecurity of his position, and she
is irresistibly bright. The change in him
since it was settled is wonderful. He and
Mrs. Mompesson have not got on well
" Why shouldn't they ? " Brunskill asked.
" Oh, she is imperious and irritable, con-
stantly reproaching herself for her course of
conduct with Richard, and suffering it to
make others miserable. Richard was her
favourite child, they say she couldn't bear
Henry's father, and after Richard's disappear-
ance and Henry married, she refused to leave
Coombe, and scarcely suffered a day to pass
without referring to Richard, and declaring
he would return to claim his own. Then
Henry and his wife died within a short time
of each other, and that sobered her so long
as the children were young and she had
power. But when young Henry assumed
authority, the old tempers broke out still
more violently, and all the fiercer, because
even she, had given up all hope of seeing
Richard again. I think he must have been
very like her."
" Have you thought much about it then ?
1 suppose you have been one of the family
so long, that their interests are partly yours?"
" I must interest myself in people," said
Juliet, " I cannot help doing so, and there was
such an inconsistency about Richard Mom-
pesson that he attracted me. He must have
been so fond of his wife, he gave up so much
for her, was so chivalrous. I have heard
a ereat deal about him, and he was so
loyal and honourable whenever Margaret
Gilbert was concerned, that one feels he
must have been a fine man. But then on
the other hand he was mad to act as he did.
seemed to have no dignity, or self-control, or
self-respect. They say he was a most impe-
rious boy, then headstrong and bulging at
TWO LETTERS. 39
Rugby, and went to Oxford to lead a life of
excess and rollicking dissipation. Unfortu-
nately, his father was an invalid and could not
influence him, and when he grew up he and
his mother used simply to defy one another,
each strong will wanting to prove itself the
stronger. The climax came when she told
him that he had to marry Lady Alicia Orde.
He flatly refused, and she actually flew at
him and struck him on the cheek. He com-
manded himself admirably, but he told her
then and there that he would marry Mar-
garet Gilbert, and no other woman. Her
rage was uncontrollable ; it was what she
had just cause to fear, but thought high-
handed measures would nip it in the bud."
" And what did he do ?' Brunskill asked,
in a low voice.
" Behaved splendidly. She insulted Mar-
garet, called her every vile name of which
she could think, declared he should not marry
her, swore she knew he didn't mean to, gave
him permission to go off with her where he
liked, promised to maintain them both out of
her own private fortune until he was tired of
her, and then to provide for her and receive
him back, and talked of his then marrying
one of the Tattons, since Lady Alicia was
not likely to wait, and there were five Tatton
girls on the next estate to their own. He
listened in perfect sarcastic silence, his blood
at white heat ; then he thanked her, bowed,
and left the room. She never saw him
" And he married Margaret ? "
" He got a special license, and it was
done at once, without the knowledge of any
of his friends. Mrs. Mompesson raved her-
self into a long illness."
" And what became of Richard and his
wife ? Where did they go ? " asked Brun-
" Not a Mompesson or a Gilbert knows
that to this day. They posted to London,
TWO LETTERS. 41
and disappeared as completely as if the earth
had opened and swallowed them. It is a
mystery. It was always thought that Richard
would come to take possession when his
father died, and turn out Mrs. Mompesson
and install his wife ; but he did not. He
was never heard of. It was known that he
took some seven or eight thousand pounds
with him, which was a sum of money an
uncle had left him a few months previously ;
and every one thought they must have gone
to America. It happened before there was
the system of detectives and espionage that
there is now."
"It was a mad thing to do," said Brun-
skill. " One thinks he would have been glad
to claim his own estate, to surround his wife
with dignities and luxuries. Do you think
he was dead before his father, or do you
think he had ceased to love his wife ? '
"Not that," said Juliet. "No; I think
he would always love her. Perhaps he was
dead, and she too. Some people thought it
must be that he would never come back
while Mrs. Mompesson lived, never insult
his wife by bringing her in contact with her ;
that in his implacable hatred, too, which he
got from his mother, he had conceived this
way of punishing her. But I should say
some unlooked-for catastrophe occurred. If
they sailed for America under feigned names,
and the ship foundered, it would be impos-
sible to trace them. I always think there
must have been some catastrophe, Mr. B run-
skill ; do you ? "
" I have never speculated on the matter,"
said Brunskill. " This is the first time I
have heard the story ; and a miserable one
it is !
It seemed to absorb him. He scarcely
spoke again throughout their walk, and Juliet,
too, gave way to her own thoughts. She
could not determine how to act ; whether to
write to Ormrod and charge him with the
TWO LETTERS. 43
fact of having deliberately deceived her, or
to allow all to rest in apparent tranquillity
until she saw him a^ain. She dreaded exer-
cisino- either alternative : for if she wrote, she
knew he would write in answer, urging every
plea of impulse and fascination in self-justifi-
cation ; and if she waited and saw him, she
dreaded that his importunity and entreaty
would overwhelm her. Constant thought
and hesitation, and the phantom of love that
seemed relentlessly to pursue her, made her
restless once more. She had been feverishly
eager to come to Moorhead, and now she
was far more feverishly eager to get away.
She had come for the truth, and she had got
it ; nothing remained to be done there. She
wearied of Miss Gliddon, Brunskill's content
irritated her ; she would not paint, because
painting was inseparably connected with
Ormrod ; if she sang, it was with an impa-
tient agony of vehemence more astonishing
than pleasing, as she knew, not only because
it increased the strain on her own nerves, but
because she felt that it jarred on her hearers ;
she could not bear to knit ; if she wrote
letters, she tore them up again ; if she went
out walking, she was constantly wishing to
sit down and rest ; and if she sat down, it was
only to jump up again in a moment. The
state of things was altogether intolerable.
One morning, however, she came down
more composed. She had been writing half
the night, and she was resolved that these
two letters should cm. During breakfast her
" Come into the garden with me," she
said to Brunskill as they left the table.
" See, I have been writing these letters,"
she said, showing their backs to him, when
they were standing alone on the grass. " If
you are going into Moorhead this morning,
will you post them for me ? '
" I suppose you mean that you wish me
to go," he said.
TWO LETTERS. 45
" Yes. Will you promise not to look at
either address ? "
" But," she said, " if any accident occur by
which you inadvertently look at them, if you
were to drop them or turn them over
thoughtlessly, you must bring them back and
I shall not send them."
" I will be very careful," he said.
" You need not be," she said, quickly.
" Perhaps I should be better pleased."
But when he returned he was empty-
handed. Juliet was sitting on the edge of
the sunk fence, waiting, and when he saw
her he held up two open palms. She shook
her head. She was disappointed.
" Ah ! you little know what you have
done," she said, as he came and sat down by
her. "And it affects you as much as me;
quite as much, if not more."
His face changed. He looked at her
" What do you mean ? ' he asked.
She returned that set look with appa-
rently simple indifference.
" Not what you think," she said.
It was an answer that crippled him on all
sides. If her meaning did not tally with his
conclusion, it was to be inferred that she had
fathomed his conclusion though he was in
ignorance of her meaning. For once he was
alarmed, perplexed, and exasperated — and
she knew it.
" Be cross," she said, " I want a scolding,
it will do me more good than anything. That
is why I am going away, because I must
have Doctor Thorns to scold me again.''
" And when are you going ? '
" The day after to-morrow, but don't ask
me whither, for I don't know. '
" A case of the dove flying from the
"At any rate, I don't take an olive branch
with me," she said, smiling bitterly.
TWO LETTERS. 47
" Neither did she," he said ; " but she
" I shall not."
" Oh yes you will, sooner or later. Be-
lieve that, Juliet ; it is a good thing to
He used the Christian name uncon-
sciously, and she did not tell him that he
had used it, but it had a strange effect upon
her, subduing her utterly, vibrating to a
depth which she dared not fathom, and send-
ing a rush of colour over her face, which
she turned away to hide. He got up imme-
diately afterwards and sauntered away, and
Juliet went in and upstairs to her room.
Taking her desk, she sat down in the win-
dow-seat and opened it. Within were the
copies of her two letters ; one was to Doctor
Thorns, the other to Ormrod.
" Dear Friend," — she had written to the
Doctor — " This place is intolerable to me.
You know why. I feel certain now that your
4 S JULIET.
perspicacity will never, under any circum-
stances, fail you. If I did not know that it
is your part to sit, sphinx-like, aloof from the
world and yet solve its riddles, I should be
afraid of you ; but you do not weave the
spells so much as you shatter them, so I dare
think of coming to you and Mrs. Wyvill.
11 And I want to come to you. I am
wondering how your rheumatism is. Does
the top of your stick keep time with the
melody of the nightingales in the garden, or
is it too late in the year ? I shall leave here
in twodavs, either for Marshlands or Coombe
Rectory, according to your answer. Be care-
ful not to stand too long at once pruning
your roses, if the mould be damp. Do trust
them to Silas, or, if I come, I will do them
under your directions. I want you to be
able to throw your stick aside next summer,
and to look less aggressive altogether. —
Your faithful " Calypso."
And to Or m rod she had written thus —
TWO LETTERS. 49
" Dear Mr. Ormrod, — I daresay you will
have heard that your friend, Molly Murdock,
is very ill. Miss Gliddon and I have been to
see her, but as yet she is delirious, the crisis of
the fever not being for another week. Her
illness cannot be traced to any physical cause ;
and it is generally thought that there has
been some misapprehension on her uncle's part
with regard to your intentions towards her,
and that he has expressed his opinion of
you too freely to her, and finally behaved
brutally. Knowing his character as you
must have done, forgive me for saying that
I think you should most carefully have
guarded against such a misapprehension, by
explaining your wishes to him as her natural
guardian. A man cannot be too careful for
the woman whom he asks to be his wife.
" I suppose you will soon start for Italy,
but if, before going, you were to name to Mr.
Ouin the fact of a friend's serious illness down
here, and avail yourself of his permission to
vol. 11. . 4
5 o JULIET.
come and see her, you would so far rise
justly in the opinion of another woman
whom you have deceived. — Believe me, yours
truly, "Juliet Laybourne."
" It will bring him, ,: ' she thought, as she
reclosed the desk with the decision of in-
tegrity. " He will be sulky, but he will
come — not to see her, but because he will
expect to see me. I should not wonder if,
in his conceit, he does not distort it into a
stratagem on my part to get him here. Ah !
what an opinion I have of him now ! Let
him come, he will find me gone ! "
The following day she packed, and in the
evening sang to them in so sweet a style that
Brunskill thought the olive branch must
already be near her hand. And then came a
letter from Doctor Thorns. He told her to
go home. He was coming to her there.
There was nothing from Ormrod.
" You will have another visitor to-day,"
she said to Miss Gliddon, as they stood
TWO LETTERS. 51
on the platform at Newbridge ; but she
only laughed when she was asked to ex-
"Good-bye," she said toBrunskill. "Should
I tantalize you if I were to hold your hand
and look as though I had a great deal to say,
and then drop it without having said any-
thing ? You have tantalized me thus. I have
a great deal to say to you, but some day I
shall have more, so I will wait. Think of me
sometimes, will you ? "
He assured her that he would, and she
clasped his hand with expressive emphasis,
and a smile, half mischievous, half sad. He
long remembered that smile, puzzling over it,
and trying to banish the uneasy feeling that it
had roused in him, a feeling which stamped
her in his mind as too clever — too clear-
headed, and quick-witted. Struggle as he
would, he could not banish the idea that he
was in her power ; scout at the notion though
he did, he felt that those parting words were
UNIVERSITY OF IllfNOfS
pregnant with more knowledge than it was
safe for her to have.
He and Miss Gliddon drove home talk-
ing of her. Neither knew much, but both
thought they did, and speculated boldly over
the future. Miss Gliddon was convinced
there had been something between Ormrod
and her, and that she cared for him ; Bruns-
kill thought, at any rate, she did not mean
to encourage him, even if the genuine
attraction did not lie elsewhere, as he was
inclined to think.
That evening, the theories of both, re-
ceived a shock. They were sitting in the
drawing-room, when the front-door bell rang,
and in a few moments a familiar voice was
heard in the hall. Miss Gliddon ran out and
into the very arms of Ormrod, who was just
"Good Heavens!' she exclaimed, and
then simply stared at him.
They entered the room, and Brunskill
TWO LETTERS. 53
rose from the sofa, but Ormrod took no
notice of him, and looked round eagerly ;
then turned to Miss Gliddon in unmistak-
" She is gone," said she.
" Miss Laybourne ? "
" Yes, this morning."
Ormrod went on to the rug, nodding to
Brunskill as he passed him, supported his
arm on the mantelpiece, and looked at both
of them deliberately and eloquently.
" She sent for me," he said, in a tone
as though he were challenging their utmost
derogatory criticism of Juliet, and wished to
infer what they might otherwise leave un-
thought for charity's sake.
" Impossible ! " said Miss Gliddon, aghast.
" Not at all," said Brunskill ; " since she
evidently did not send for you to see her, it
seems the most natural thins: in the world."
IT IS YOU. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN YOU.
Juliet went contentedly home, as the Doctor
had said that he was coming at once to see
her. He was a curious letter-writer, never
seemed to have a whole sheet of paper by
him, but wrote on scraps of various colours
and qualities, as though careful to preserve
every blank morsel in the letters he received.
Sometimes, when Juliet opened the envelope,
ten or twelve of these morsels would flutter
out, all of unequal size, and closely covered
with his crabbed characters, unnumbered, but
happily, never crossed ; this time, however,
there was only one, and that remarkably tidy,
"IT IS YOUr 55
with a new dignity about it — as she thought
when she re-read it on her journey, wonder-
ing what gave it that distinction, and why
she might not go to her old quarters. Per-
haps Mrs. Wyvill was away, or ill, or he
was going away, or had other friends. It
was the first time he had refused to have her,
and she knew there must be some good
Within a day of her return he came over
on his mule. She had been in the village,
and was just sauntering in at the gate, giving
a long look down the lane, which was the
shortest cut from Coombe, when he came
into sight. She threw him a kiss, but did
not go to meet him ; on the contrary, she
went on, and up to her own room. All that
she had to say, rushed over her in overwhelm-
ing force. Habit held such sway over her,
that she never thought of withholding any-
thing. She was not one who could talk
freely to another woman, and had always, of
late years said less to her mother than to
the Doctor. She took flights, which her
mother could not understand, and as it
was distressing to feel herself puzzling, she
would simply keep silence until a conve-
nient season recurred for the old Platonic
And the Doctor never asked for her con-
fidence. He left her alone until it came
spontaneously, and then, by apparent blunt
indifference, drew all forth. When she came
into the room to-day, they did not shake
hands. She had a way of walking away
from the very attraction that was magnetizing
her, would keep her eyes fixed above its
level, and apparently curb all thought of it.
This was deceptive to those who did not
know her well ; but to the Doctor, who did,
it happened that day to bring a throb of
unusual emotion. He was talking to Sophie
■ — Sophie, the bewitchingly fair and stately,
who was soon to be married to a departed
"IT IS YOUr 57
curate, who had been translated to a Parson-
age, congratulating her on the happiness to
which her face testified, and keeping the
while, a watch on the door. He was sicken-
ingly anxious to see Juliet ; the glimpse he
had had of her in the lane was nothing. She
had walked away with her usual firm ease,
and he knew she was not the woman to
droop and slouch unless physical illness had
her in its grasp. Evidently she was per-
fectly well in body ; but what of the mind ?
He must see her face to answer that ques-
tion. She had gone through a great deal
since he last saw her, lived a lifetime of
bruises and hurts, anger and pain ; proved
her womanliness either for weal or woe,
ennoblement or bitterness. Was she then
rising or sinking ? He thought he could
tell in a moment, and mould his own purpose
But to his dismay he found he could not.
Her face told him nothing of either struggle
or effect. She did not look at him ; but he
knew she knew where he was, because she
looked everywhere else. She went straight
across the room to the window, in whose
wide bow was a flower-stand, and she was
carrying a bowl of asters, which she put
down, and then stooped to re-arrange some
shaken blooms. He followed her eagerly
with his eyes, turning involuntarily from
Sophie, who signalled her neglected state to
Carrie with expressive gesture, bringing her
over to her and the piano against which they
" He is worse than ever," she said as
they chose a duet together. "It is cruel of
Judy, positively cruel. I'll never believe she
doesn't see. Go to Coombc Rectory, indeed !
She never must again but as his wife, and
she might do far worse. He would be
" Nonsense ! " said Carrie ; " it is fatherly
thought, that's all. I named it to INI other,
"IT is you:' 59
and she would not hear me. You're not
wiser than she, I suppose ? "
" Mother has forgotten, then, how Papa
looked, and I — you see I remember how
Arthur looks. He's awfully fond of me,
Carrie ; but listen — he's not so deeply gone as
the Doctor, he hasn't it in him. He is going
to propose to her."
" Who ? — Arthur ? asked Carrie, mis-
chievously ; but Sophie did not smile.
" I call him distressingly devoted," she
said ; " he would frighten me. What will
she do with him ? "
But Carrie shook her head, quite think-
ing that Juliet understood all there was
to understand in Doctor Thorns, and that
that did not tend to love, courtship, or
Meanwhile, Juliet had arranged the
flowers, and, standing up, sent a brilliant
smile across to the Doctor, meaning him to
come to her. The window was open, and it
was her plan to go into the garden with him
at once before the sun set and the dew fell.
She thought she should be stifled if they
talked within doors. But to her surprise,
although he returned that smile with a glance
of vividest sympathy, he did not come, but
turned away to the sofa where Mrs. Lay-
bourne sat at work. Juliet was amazed.
Under the circumstances, it was the wisest
thing he could have done ; but he did not do
it deliberately, he simply could not have gone
to her, because for the first time in his life he
would have had nothing to say, and he had
in reality so much to say that it was a case
for all or nothing.
But his failing to see her intention, piqued
her. She was used to have him at her call,
and having strung herself up to be confi-
dential, it was a shock to find him unrespon-
sive, making her value more his responsive-
ness, and consider how badly she would now
do without it. She stood watching him.
"IT IS YOU: 9 6i
Mrs. Lay bourne and he were great cronies,
and entered into animated conversation at
once. Instinctively, she compared them, and
was surprised to find how comparatively
young and hale he looked when he was not
walking and his rheumatic halt was latent.
It was a strange thought that came into
her heart as she stood there. If he had
been twenty years younger, she would have
been a happy wife years ago, and thus
been saved all this trouble that was beat-
ing in her brain, all this dull pain that was
twitching at her heart-strings and strain-
ing them well-nigh to breaking point. It
seemed to her cruel that he had not come,
for she would have slipped from beneath
part of her burden so soon as she had con-
fessed it. She was very far from guessing
his real motives in keeping away, and with
what eager hope his heart was beating.
She looked round the room, feeling suddenly
isolated, finishing again by a long glance at
the Doctor ; but still he made no sign, and
she went quietly out alone.
But he heard that slight movement, and
knew she was gone, and could not bear the
emptiness that seemed to fall around. In a
moment he got up and followed her. Sophie
glanced at Carrie, and nodded, and Carrie
beean to think she would have to be con-
vinced in spite of all the wisdom of her
mother. Mrs. Laybourne knitted on, and
thought nothing of it ; and the girls looking
over their shoulders, and seeing her serene
innocence, decided to keep their own counsel.
" What will she do s with him ? ' Sophie
mused again. It sounded as though she
expected him to be violent.
So soon as the Doctor stepped into the
o-arden, he discerned Juliet at the end of a
long mossy path that led to the orchard.
She had walked quickly, and was now lean-
ing on the gate, looking across the level
landscape beyond the apple-trees, at the sky
"IT is Your 63
that was flushing to sunset. She heard the
Doctor's stick come tapping along, but would
not turn, and remained motionless.
He came up and stood alongside of her.
"Ah! Juliet!" he said.
The words were nothing, the voice every-
thing — self-controlled, but inexpressibly ten-
der — pregnant with satisfaction that they two
stood there alone. It thrilled her electri-
cally ; but still for a moment she did not
turn. Then, very slowly, their eyes met in
a straight gaze of questioning and intelligent
response ; but there was this difference — she
mistook the meaning of his, and he under-
stood hers. She gathered comfort — he, pain.
There was no self-consciousness about her,
and that was what he wanted. He burst
into a short laugh, and flourished his
" Confound it all ! " he said.
" The dew will do that for you, at least,
if we stay here,'' she said, with her usual
readiness. " It is too late ; we must go into
the house now ; but we will have a room to
ourselves, and a good time all the same.
Why didn't you come at once ? If you had,
the tooth would have been drawn now ; in-
stead of which, the whole operation is still
to be gone through."
" Operation ! ' he exclaimed. " Why
didn't you drop your eyes ? — that was all the
operation necessary for both of us."
" What have my eyes to do with it ? '
she asked, simply. " I meant them to ex-
press something, certainly, but they could
only do so open."
11 Oh ! uncomprehending soul of woman ! '
he cried, in a tone of deepest sarcastic hurt.
"What do you mean?' she demanded,
" More than your philosophy dreams of,"
" Don't be so cross," she said, laying a
coaxing hand on his arm.
"IT IS YOU." 65
He shook it off, exulting fiercely over his
" Never do that again — never 7' he said ;
and then, conscious of her unbounded aston-
ishment, he drew to her again.
" What must I do to please you ? ' he
" You always please me, and sometimes,
too, you amuse me," she said. " At present
you are inexplicable ; but then I know you
are hurt for me, and this is your way of
showing it. You know how much I have
been suffering, and perhaps you regret now
that you let me go to Moorhead without
warning, for you had guessed the truth,
I am certain ; and you knew that, of all
things, it was what I could least endure, that
the man I loved should have loved some one
else, and even still be engaged to her when
he had learned to love me, and was encou-
raging me to love him. For he does love
me. I could have him for my own, any day
VOL. II. C
or hour, when I chose to send for him. Do
you believe me ? "
She paused to take breath, and looked at
" And will you send for him ? " he asked.
" I have sent for him," she said.
She expected he would have clutched her
arm, stared at her, shook her, called her mad,
implored and prayed her to reconsider, and be
saved from a knave. But he did none of
these ; his own torture was now uppermost.
He made no sign, uttered no sound, but
walked on with his eyes bent on the ground.
It is impossible to describe all that was
passing through his mind : disappointment for
himself was gradually quenched in heartfelt
misgivings for her, in an agony of apprehen-
sion that she should be rushing into sorrow
and suffering, in rapid prayers for courage to
show her safety, and capacity to put self
aside. Through all that fervent hurried
"IT IS YOUr 67
communing, one good old thought beat with
strong pulsation, " Say to happiness, ' I can
do without thee,' with self-renunciation life
begins." Thus must it be unless his happi-
ness might come through hers, hers through
They had reached the house now, and
Juliet led the way to a room, half school-
room, half workroom, where they were accus-
tomed to indulge in long talks. One of the
twins was there, poring over a volume of
Japanese legends. She looked up as they
came in, realizing, with a sigh, that she would
have to decamp ; and when they were alone,
Juliet drew an arm-chair into the window for
the Doctor, and made him sit down, after
which she knelt down by him.
" Why didn't you go on catechising me ? "
she asked, " you stopped just when you
should not. You ought to have raved at
me, and I am quite disappointed to have
created so slight an impression by my grand
coup. Now I must tell you the sequel in the
baldest style. I sent for him, yes ; but not
to see me. No ! I sent for him to see Molly
Murdock, to whom he is engaged."
" And you did not see him ? '
" No ; I came away. Do you know what
it means, what I wished it to infer ? '
" That you will never see him again ? '
She nodded. Her eyes were fixed upon
him in very desperation of relinquishing
earnest, and he saw them widen with tears,
which she was resolute not to let drop.
Tears they were that, as he knew, were
wrung from quivering heart-strings, and gave
no relief to the poignant tension.
11 You would not have been happy.
Calypso," he said, gently.
" He deceived me, and not me so cruelly
as another," she said, speaking painfully, in
short strangled gasps, her face now averted,
" I could have forgiven him my own wrongs,
that is woman's nature out of her very love.
" it is you: 1 6 9
but I should never have forgotten his in-
difference to the feelings of her who had
the first claim upon him. It was so un-
principled, so selfish. I felt at once he was
Doctor Thorns sat silent, inexpressibly
thankful, and fearful of adding one pang to
the many. Juliet was now looking out of
the window at the golden sky that gleamed
betwixt the dark level branches of a cedar,
her hands clasped round her knees, her dark
eyes luminous with regret, and as he watched
her he felt strung up to a calm almost
amounting to indifference.
Then she turned and looked at him
" He loves me," she said, in a low voice,
and with a smile.
She wanted him to acquiesce, thinking
that would bring most balm to her wounds.
But he did not see it.
So do others," he said.
7 o JULIET.
She did not answer ; his meaning seemed
to her strictly general.
" I do," he said.
" You ! " she repeated, struck by some-
thing urgent in his tone.
" Don't you see it ?" he cried, sharply.
"In that way ? " she asked.
" What way, whose ? Do you mean his,
Juliet? Not that, no, something very diffe-
rent. It is you. It has always been you.
It will always be you."
He bent forward with a fierce light over
his face, as though he meant his words to
carry her along with them, but he did not
raise a finder to touch her. If it were to be
self-surrender, the act must be spontaneous
and complete in itself.
But she had turned upon him an un-
" My dear friend," she said, softly, and
placed her hand a moment on his. Then
she rose. His features were working pain-
" IT IS YOUr 71
fully, and she could not bear him to think
that she saw it. She went and leant against
the window-frame in silence.
That silence was broken by him.
Hurriedly, and in incoherent language, he
began to tell her how it had all happened, how
long he had loved her, how he would not
have spoken now, to the disturbance of her
peace of mind, but that he feared for her,
feared that she was about to take a fatal step,
though she might for a time struggle against
it. If her resolution proved itself strong,
not to be influenced by any representation
Ormrod would make, still she was condemn-
ing herself to a lonely life. She was no silly
girl. He could speak to her as to a wise
woman, whose being is only completed as
wife and mother; whose reasonableness
would not disdain the idea of a married life,
founded upon strong mutual esteem, when
undying affection also was in the man's heart.
The woman's affection under such circum-
stances would crrow out of thankfulness for
the peace and sheltered safety of a home
where others looked to her for comfort. He
begged her to realize, that though now she
felt equal to weather all storms, a day would
come when she would long for the nearest of
earthly companionships ; the dearest of human
ties. He spoke of his home, but if she did
not care to think of it as hers, he offered to
give it up, to travel, to settle elsewhere. He
offered her his life's devotion, his eternal
solicitude. His voice gradually steadied.
His eyes never wandered from their keen
and eager scrutiny of her. He had leant
forward, his elbows supported on either arm
of the chair, his hands'so tightly clasped that
the finger-ends were left bloodless. He
was determined to leave nothing unurged,
unrepresented. Hut she did not once
turn her face to him [or stir. It was im-
possible to judge what impression he had
"IT IS YOU? 73
At last she came and sat down by him,
and he saw her cheeks were wet.
"You subdue me," she said, " you offer
me so much. What could I offer you ?
What could I be to you, and do for you ? '
" If you were happy, if I had the power
of making you so, that would be sufficient."
" I cannot marry you yet," she said.
" I don't expect it," he said, " but you
wouldn't say thus much, would you, if there
were any obstacle which nothing could dis-
solve — I mean such as my stick," he added,
with a nervous laugh. " Could you endure
a hobbling husband ? Give me a straw of
hope, and I'll winter in any mawkish climate,
frequent any devilish kind of bath, go through
any undignified course of treatment pointing
to the faintest chance of cure. But chronic
rheumatism is, I fear, a guest who doesn't
understand the art of bringing a tedious visit
to a close, and probably I shall hobble to
the end of my days. What then ? Am I a
stupid, vain old fool ? Are you laughing in your
sleeve, thinking of ' Beauty and the Beast,'
when it ou^ht to be ' Paris and Helen ? '
But, Juliet, you've no notion how softly I can
hobble, how little it shows. Could vou ^et
over the stick ? Let us both face the truth."
She looked at him, half laughing, half
" If I loved you, two crutches would not
keep me from you when you wanted me,"
''You must never come and stay with me
" That is hard," she said, with a sigh ; " I
am selfish, I am terrified of losing you as my
friend. But we can write to each other."
" Yes," he said, careful not to show the
substantial hope this solicitude afforded him.
" That will be very feasible, if I winter in
some atrocious German hole."
" Don't go there, for my sake."
" I am conceited enough to go for my
"IT IS YOUr 75
own. I am not an old man, and I may as
well look under rather than above my age.
Nothing is more ageing than a limp."
"You don't look old," said Juliet, quickly.
Something in her tone made him laugh,
and as he laughed, she blushed. It was an
odd and jerky laugh, whose unconcealed
pleasure made her self-conscious, a feeling
which under no circumstances she could
tolerate. She rose quickly, with an involun-
tary little shrug of her shoulders, and moved
about the room, clearing the table of the
twin's lesson books, and picking a few
withered asters from a bowl of flowers. The
Doctor sat and watched her, scarcely expect-
ing that she would sit down again, but reluc-
tant to be the first to return to the drawing-
room. After a while, however, she did sit
down again, and without any preface, began
to describe her visit to Alderdale to see
Molly, passing from that to Brunskill. She
was perfectly certain, in her own mind, of his
identity, and wished to impress it upon the
Doctor. But he was hard to convince.
When the case was placed lucidly before him,
he snapped his fingers.
" A fig for your mystery," he cried, (i would
his mother's son be such an Utopian fool, as
to put an extinguisher on his prospects, out
of revenge for insults offered her by his
father's family ? His best way of avenging
her, w r ould be to assert himself, and show
what a fillip of plebeian blood will do for
patrician. Your woman's wit carries you too
far. We've all seen him. The Ouins— his
aunt, Mrs. Ouin, cannot have been so closely
associated with him in their visits to Moor-
head, without something transpiring. Ca-
lypso, your perspicacity does you credit. By
the bye, you used that word in your note the
other day. Ah ! that note ! I read between
each line, and saw more in what was sug-
gested, than expressed. The nightingales y
the roses, the dews, and finally, not Silas, but
"IT IS YOU." 77
you, standing on the mould, deftly pruning
under my directions —
" See, the moon is rising," she said, hastily.
u Juliet, there is one thing. Supposing//*:
were to come here to you ? "
" He will not. He will not dare ! '
" There is nothing I would not dare "
" You ! ' and she flashed a wonderful
smile at him. " ' Conscience doth make
cowards of us all.' That is what will keep
" Conscience doth make cowards of us
all," — the words beat dully in Doctor
Thorns' mind when Juliet left him, and he
Somehow, they did not fit into this case ;
but he was a little time before he found the
clue. It did not at once strike him that the
fact was, Ormrod had no conscience. When
he realized this, he realized also the full
danger to her from his self-assured conii-
dence, and that safety lay only in separation
and distance ; but how to urge this upon her
without seeming urgent was another puzzle.
She had said she did not mean to see him ;
but it was impossible that chance, at least,
should not bring them together, apart from
the unnaturalness of Ormrod making no
further effort to see her. She had vanished
from the room without his catching a glimpse
of her face, for her voice had been eloquent
of so much that he had refrained from look-
ing up. Afterwards silence fell, and the
moon, slowly rising, flooded the twilight.
That was all, apparently ; but in his heart
how much more than mere facts !
When he presently joined the others, he
found some visitors had come in, and he did
not get another word with Juliet ; but he lit
her candle at bed-time, and, without glancing
at her, pressed her hand.
The following day he went to London,
promising to call on his way home, and mean-
while Juliet had a letter from Miss Gliddon.
She told her of Ormrod's arrival, and also of
his departure. He had come and gone again
within a quarter of an hour, had not even
been into Moorhead, but had returned at
once to Newbridge, walking, to catch the
first train in the morning. Molly Murdochs
name had not been mentioned. She did not
say that Juliet's had, but each line inferred it,
and that she should be glad to be taken into
This, however, was far from Juliet's in-
tention. She never took a woman into her
confidence. But, after a great deal of most
harassing thought during a long solitary
walk, she wrote back and frankly commented
upon the madness of Ormrod's action.
" I don't know what to advise," she said
in conclusion ; " but I feel that I should
advise something. Well, then, I will say,
dorit let Molly know> when she is able to
be told anything again. She would either
wonder distressfully or infer much that,
though comforting, would be untrue. In the
sight of God he is still engaged to her, and
so far as I know, is not likely to jilt her for
the surety of being engaged to some one
else. But I fear a Qreat blow is in store for
her. He will never marry her ; but I don't
know whom he will marry. Perhaps it had
better come upon her gradually. Some day
she will marry Brunskill, and then she will
know what true happiness is."
After this her mind was lighter, but her
heart heavier. She had acted up to her prin-
ciples, but she had sacrificed her feelings.
The facts that he had at once gone to Moor-
head, that they had perhaps passed each
other in travel, that he had done all in his
power to prove that it was her whom he had
hoped to see, were overwhelming for the
moment, and made her restless and miser-
able, distrustful of her own strength, and im-
patient with the sense of honour imposed
upon her by Dr. Thorns' trust. The pre-
vious night everything had seemed lightened,
she had even felt calm ; but now again the
old surging unrest was upon her, and she
perpetually caught herself wondering where
Ormrod was, what he would do, and where
she would again see him. For she knew
they must meet again, and perhaps the reso-
lution that it should be unpremeditatedly
made it the more natural to speculate over
and anticipate it, giving food to her imagina-
tion every hour.
Then Dr. Thorns returned. They were
all in the drawing-room when he was an-
nounced one evening. He came in with a
decided air of dejection, and stood on the
hearthrug without shaking hands with any
one. Juliet was the only one who did not
look up. She had heard his stick tap along
past the window, and she knew exactly what
he was going to say.
" I'm off to the Black Forest," he an-
'' What to do there ? " asked Lavbourne.
" Good for rheumatics, I suppose," was
the answer. " I'm tired of my hobble, and
mean to slip it, then cut and run."
" Your hobble ! : cried Laybourne.
" Why, man alive, have you one ? If you
have, I shan't know you without it after all
these years. What's in the wind ? Come,
out with the truth ! "
" What is it, Doctor ? Are you going to
be married ?' Mrs. Laybourne struck in,
with a soft laugh.
Sophie gasped, staring with round eyes
at the Doctor, who had blushed furiously.
" Madam," said he, " you little know what
you are talking about."
It was an uncomfortable speech, and
made them all uncomfortable, in which fact
he would have taken a grim delight, but that
a quick glance at Juliet warned him that self-
satisfaction on such a point as the disarming
of her mother, would place him in her
black books. So he restrained himself, van-
quished his ill-humour, and submitted to Lay-
bourne's usual genial button-holing. Tea
was ordered, and when it was placed on a
table near the sofa, with the hospitable con-
cession made to a late and welcome truest
which avoided a formal adjournment to the
less cosy dining-room, Juliet arranged all for
him, and smiled a smile of quiet greeting
unseen bv the others.
" I am glad it is the Black Forest," she
said. "It will be beautiful, and atone for
your banishment. You will have plenty to
write about, and I shall look forward to your
He did not answer, but looked at her
with a tenderness fierce yet wistful, as though
there were much he wished to say, and when
he mounted his mule the following morning
and she started to walk with him a mile or
two, the secret came out.
" Calypso," he said, laying a hand on
her shoulder. " I ran up against Ormrod
in Pall Mall. He stopped and asked me
where you were. I shall not wonder if he
She shook her head. She really believed
that he would not.
" I shall not go to Germany yet," he said.
" The Mompessons seem to be altogether
unsettled. They talk of the wedding in
Spring, and Mrs. Mompesson is not well.
The fact is she doesn't want to leave Coombe
and go to the Dower-house. I asked Ormrod
if they were going to Italy, and he could not
say. Mrs. Quin seems to be under the in-
fluence of a fit of affection, and doesn't want
Quin to leave her. Mompesson is off again
to the Moors, and Bel wants to go too and
rusticate. That, Mrs. Quin positively declines
to undertake, so Ouin would be booked. Of
course Ormrod is the ball whom every one
tosses, but as Ouin means him to go south,
and won't send him alone, I fancy it will be
Bel's fate to yield her wishes and stay quietly
at Coombe with her mother, and her lover
when she can get him. That won't be very
lively work. Mrs. Mompesson begrudges
the idea of giving up the place to her, and
won't be chary of her spleen. I don't think
she will ever go to the Dower-house, it's too
much saturated with the Gilberts."
" Would she begrudge giving it up to
Richard or his son ? "
" No, poor soul ! If Richard turned up
I think she would die of joy ; if his son, she
would begrudge no atonement in her power.
She feels deeply that at present Providence
has checkmated her utterly. I have a mind
to run over to Moorhead and see this fellow."
" When I return to Coombe I shall go to
the Dower-house and see Lettice Gilbert. I
am certain it is her o( whom he reminds
" I fancy they'll be curtailing your holi-
days," said the Doctor. " It's a trick they
have. If Mrs. Mompesson continues fractious
Mrs. Ouin'll lose her temper, Sibbert'll wring
her hands, Lily mope, and Bel sit down and
write off for you. Of course you'll go, and
the place will relapse into comfort at the
sacrifice of yours. I shall expect you any
day, and the sooner you come the better for
11 I wish I were going to-day," she said
frankly. " I always hate my holidays. Be
sure I shall come as soon as possible ; and
when we are all settled for a long dull winter,
you can go to Germany, if you still wish it."
" I don't wish it at all," said the Doctor,
ruefully ; " and if Mrs. Mompesson should
decide to travel for a year or two after the
wedding for Lily's sake, I may put off my
journey until then, and join you."
" I had no idea they thought of travel-
ling," said Juliet, quickly, " that would be
delightful — to see Rome again. Ah ! do you
remember that day at Tivoli, when there
was that picnic with the Dalyrymples and I
was lost ? "
He remembered very well, and what
agonies of fear and misgiving he had suffered
until her voice had been heard calling to
them in the woods, and they had found her,
hatless and gloveless, perched in the fork of
a grand old chestnut. They talked of Rome
now until they reached a point where three
roads met. Here they separated, the Doctor
going forward across a wide level country of
rich £rass and rows of willows, and dykes
bordered by poplars, Juliet turning off to the
right to walk home through a hamlet on the
outskirts of her father's parish, where he had
asked her to see a sick man.
The lane into which she plunged was
narrow, with high hedges, littered by bryony
skeins and wild masses of bramble and
maple. She lost sight of the Doctor at once,
hearing the slow shamble of his mule a little
further however, until she reached a crossing
over the railway, towards which a passenger
train was coming from the south. She
waited for it to pass the gates. A little
further on was Dudford Station, for which it
was already slackening speed. This was the
station for Marshlands, which was two miles
from the lines, and it was to a cottage at
one end of this village that she was bound.
After the train had passed she went on.
There was a short cut across some fields,
which she would have taken but that there
had been rain in the night, and the grass was
heavy with autumnal wet. So she kept to
the lane, and to shorten the longer distance
walked more quickly than usual, looking
neither to the right nor the left, and lost in
her own see-saw of thought.
Just before Dudford is reached, the foot-
path in the fields skirts the road, and had
Juliet looked up, she must have seen a gen-
tleman coming along these fields from the
station. He, too, was walking fast, swinging
a cane with one hand, the other plunged deep
in his pocket, his eyes bent on the ground,
and a frown of moody perplexity on his
handsome, fair face.
Both preoccupied, they passed within
four yards of each other without recognition;
but the next moment some intuition made
Ormrod stand still and look back, and then
Juliet heard her name pronounced in a
peremptory tone of surprise.
Equally surprised, she stopped abruptly,
wheeled round and saw Ormrod in the act of
leaping the hedge to join her. Involuntarily,
she went slowly back to meet him, and they
did not turn a^ain, but w T alked on away from
Dudford into the quiet lane which ran across
country, remote from any habitation. It
was the only thing that occurred to them to
do, and they did it. Ormrod, feeling that
the lane was unfrequented; Juliet guiltily
conscious that it was so, and frightened by
her satisfaction in the fact.
But they went some distance without
either speaking to or looking at each other.
OVERCOME. 9 1
Not a word had passed beyond the one ejacu-
lation. They had shaken hands, but it was
involuntarily and constrainedly. The first
moments were spent in mutual realization of
each other's presence, in fronting and then
curbing the delight to which the expression
of both faces testified. Then Juliet shook
herself free from derogatory feeling, and
wondered what he would say, at the same
moment as he was wondering what he could
say, drawing herself up and resolutely gazing
along the road in front of them. She thought
she was strong ; but her true wish was to hear
his voice, her true reflection that by the way
they were going. Marshlands was four miles
off. It never occurred to her that this
meeting, unsought, could also be curtailed.
As accidental, it seemed to her untreasonable.
She was thrilled with happiness, and did not
think of future pain.
"Miss Laybourne," he said at last, "it
is a great comfort to me to know that I am
not now with you under false colours. There
is nothing now for you to know. You know
all. I have only to ask your forgiveness. I
can't be happy without it."
This was the simplest and frankest speech
she had ever heard from him, and he de-
livered it shyly and haltingly. It touched
her inexpressibly. Tears rushed to her eyes.
She longed to turn to him simply and frankly,
her whole woman's soul in her eves, self-
surrender in her very silence.
But she thought of Molly, compared with
whose wrongs hers were nothing ; she could
scarcely consider herself sinned against,
barely claim a right to forgive.
" So far as I have been sinned against, I
do forgive you," she said.
" I think you have been most sinned
against, because you have been most loved,"
he said, after a moment's pause, in the same
low voice, and with his eyes now fixed upon
Juliet turned pale.
''Don't love me any more!' she ex-
claimed, almost under her breath.
"That is an impossible command," he
said. " On the contrary, I must love you
more every hour I am away from you, and
can only think of you ; and still more when I
am with you. Unless you can bear me to
assure you of this, you cannot have forgiven
me, and your true forgiveness I must have
if I am to do or be anything in this world.
The past few weeks have fully proved that to
me. You have the making or marring of me
in your hands."
"They should be in your own," she
answered. " For Mr. Quin's sake you must
mean to study hard, and for your own you
will surely be principled. It is a case of
weakness or strength, and surely you will
not be weak. You have made mistakes, one
great one, but it should teach you how best
to avoid another."
" Nothing will teach me that except your-
self. I could only work with one end in
view — that of winning you."
" A year hence you may be saying the
same to some other woman, Mr. Ormrod."
"Never!" he exclaimed, emphatically.
<k You are thinking of Molly Murdock. That
was calf-love. It has worn itself out, died a
natural death, and made way for genuine
earnest. Had you not gone to Moorhead
you would have known nothing about it ;
but Fate took you there ; and perhaps it is
as well, though there is nothing in the whole
affair to be considered seriouslv — I mean,
with deadly seriousness. It was simply a
thing that was sure to happen, and sure to
end in smoke. A few months' silence would
have proved that to her, and there need have
been no disagreeableness, such as Doctor
Thorns' officiousness has forced upon us."
" And was it calf-love with Molly, too ? '
" Probably not," he said, coolly.
For a moment she was speechless, and
her face gathered a look of helpless amaze-
ment. It was only when she realized how,
in spite of all, she loved this man, that she
gained courage to speak. Self-contempt and
self-humiliation goaded her on.
" Then you mean that you think she is
very fond of you ? '
" I have every reason to think so."
" You know, then, that even yet she loves
" She is ill now ; but it is highly impro-
bable that she should have changed. It is,
however, what all the Moorhead people ex-
pected me to do ; and I believe some warned
" And do you think she took the warn-
" Not at the time, perhaps ; but it would
prepare her ; and her own sense, too, will
point out the necessity for my marrying
above her position. I daresay she will soon
marry in her own. There is a very worthy
fellow in the dale who would go a good deal
out of his way to get her."
"Still, you know, she may not care for
him, and it may break her heart to havejiim
for whom she does care, break faith with
" She must get over it. Probably she
will never see me again."
<4 God pity her ! " cried Juliet, suddenly.
Ormrod stood still and stared at her.
Her calm, matter-of-fact tone had misled
him. He had suffered her to lead him on
in maundering self-complacency, and had
even been congratulating himself on the
quiet ease with which she was tiding him
over what he had feared mi^ht be an awk-
ward point ; but her tone now at once robbed
him of this illusion.
44 What do you mean ?' he asked.
" For her weakness," Juliet said. <4 Poor
weak woman, to love such as you ! I only
know one weaker woman, and that is myself;
for I know you now, and she does not — not
yet. There she is, lying ill, and thinking of
you, trusting you with her heart, her soul,
her very life's happiness ! What poor stuff
do you think our woman hearts are made
of?' she added, controlling her voice into
scorn, with a violent effort. " You speak of
Molly Murdock, whose love you deliberately
set yourself to win, as though her heart were
made of gutta-percha, and would be none
the worse for the hardest of blows. You
seem to have used it to practise upon, and
now you push it aside as of no further use
to you. How inconsistent you are ! how con-
ceited ! This love that you disdain, you once
thought quite worth winning. Perhaps she
piqued you by indifference, so you deter-
mined you would overcome it, compel her to
care for you, to lose her peace of mind !
and she yielded; your, vanity was satisfied,
VOL II. 7
9 S JULIET.
and from that moment you became indiffe-
rent, and turned your attention to other
conquests, without a thought of the havoc
you had worked, the misery, the heart-sick-
ness to which you had deliberately doomed
her. You simply throw her aside like an
old garment. You don't even treat her with
common human courtesy ; you leave her
and ignore her very existence, for you don't
propose to write and explain anything, but
you inflict upon her the misery of suspense,
of bewilderment, of helpless struggling
against the cruellest of torture — alternate
hope and fear, faith and misgiving. And
meantime you amuse yourself with another
woman — with me" she said, turning upon
him with flashing defiance and a stamp of
her foot. " You set yourself to win me ;
you still think, complacently, now and again,
that Molly loves you ; you determine I shall
love you ; and, doubtless, in solitary mo-
ments, when you are indulging in flights of
fancy, you reflect that it will be easy to make
other women succumb at future times, and
that you must be careful to keep your hand
in, when I am not by to see you at work.
The whole scheme is fine. You will find
that I, at least, appreciate your genius —
perhaps, because I have some of my
" You are all genius ! ' Ormrod said,
clutching at the only straw that seemed to
him likely to stem the torrent, " you see
everything and can turn it to account. You
bewilder me, but it is only because you place
things in so different a light to what they
occur to me. If you would let me explain,
if you would believe me, I am sure you
would find that my genius is not above
"Believe you!' echoed Juliet. "How
am I to believe you ? How can I ? It's against
all reason. It would be sheer madness when
once you have deceived me, to believe that
you would not deceive me again. Besides
which, I have no business to be thinking
of myself at all. You are engaged to
your cousin. You have no right to speak-
to me of love. I have no right to listen."
" Yes, you have," he said, " you have the
first right; for I tell you again, Juliet, it is
you whom I love. I can't help it. I must
love you. I know myself, Juliet, I love
He stopped and seized her hand, but she
wrenched it free.
11 You insult me by saying so," she said,
walking on rapidly.
" What else can I say, it is the truth ? I
came to say it. I could not have endured
my life without saying it. I have been
utterly miserable since that night. I didn't
know what to do. You would not hear
what I had to say, it wouldn't bear writing.
I could not in any way avert the blow from
you, I had no means of knowing how you
took it ; my life seemed to have sunk into
silence, and it was the more, intolerable,
because I knew yours would be in a whirl.
I scarcely slept for wondering what you were
thinking of me, and what punishment you
would inflict upon me. Then your letter
came. J uliet, do you know I went the very
next day ? I thought you would be there,
and might want to see me, perhaps glad to
see me ? "
" You were absurd, quite absurd ! I
wondered, when I sent it, if you would be so
ridiculous as to think so."
" You did ! You did it deliberately? I
didn't deserve that/'
" You deserved anything — ■ worse than
ridicule. But don't think for a moment that
that was my object in writing. I wrote to
show you how full my knowledge was, to
endeavour to keep you to your honour, and
to infer that my respect was gone, and with
that, all possibility of "
" Stop," he said, " don't say it! don't
belie yourself, Juliet. Be reasonable. You
must know I shall never marry Molly. She'll
get over it, and take a finer fellow perhaps
than I — one in her own position, who'll make
her happier than she could be in London,
even with me. Still, I shall wish to marry,
and I shall wish to marry you — make it my
aim to win you. Let me suppose that you
would have married me without hesitation
and for pure affection, but for this affair ;
well, do you mean to say that you would
stifle all feeling, and deliberately refuse
" I have not so much feeling to stifle as I
had a month ago."
" Juliet, do you mean to say that you
were not glad to see me to-day ? ' he asked y
bending forward and watching her keenly.
"You took me by surprise," she said,
" There is nothing like it at times," he
rejoined, with a deep breath of relief ; " you
too took me. Be true to yourself. You
know you love me, perhaps all the more
because I have caused you suffering ; who
can tell ? We love each other, we have
been made for each other, let us recognize
" But you are not free," she said, alter-
nately tortured and comforted.
" I shall be, so soon as it is possible. I
will write to her when she is out of danger
of physical harm from it. And then — will
you promise yourself to me for that day of
freedom, Juliet ? Will you be content to
wait for me ? "
He was close to her and endeavouring" to
see her face, which she held averted. He
could only see her varying colour, her down-
cast eyes, and he longed for more.
" Look at me," he said, in a low tone.
There was a moment's exquisite hesita-
tion ; then she turned, raising a face radiant
with the light of love shining in her shy and
happy eyes. But even this did not thrill
him so much as her visible shrinking, which
he felt to be newest and most wonderful,
most eloquent of self-surrender. He drew
near to her and took her hand.
"Juliet," he said, " tell me that you love
" I wish I could hate you," she said,
" Have you been trying to hate me ? ' he
asked ; " if I had known it had come to that,
I should not have been so miserably anxious.
I don't think you would ever have succeeded.
Juliet, Juliet, you have made me most wonder-
fully happy, there is such a load gone from
my heart. I was coming in such fear and
trembling. I didn't know if you would see
me, what horrible torture you might inflict
on both of us ! And I should have had my-
self to blame entirely unless you would
have believed the simple truth, that from
the moment when I saw you coming to
me in that glistening gown with the purple
pansies, my head and heart were full of you
— all you, nothing but you ; and I suffered
myself to be carried away and to live in a
dream until that miserable night when you
were forced into a course of action that you
loathed, and I saw your eyes change to cold,
questioning mistrust, and knew you were
steeling yourself against me— and all for a
mere flea-bite, a straw neither here nor there
in a man's life. I felt desperate, to think
such an unobtrusive morsel as poor Molly
should stand between you and me, to think
I had been such a fool as to imagine for a
moment that she could make me happy, and
actually shackle myself with such a
what is it, my darling, are we walking too
slowly, are you cold ? '
For he had felt her shiver strongly, and
now she turned a white face to him.
"Don't!" she. said. "Don't talk so,
" How ? What am I saying you don't
like ? It's all true. However, if you don't
care to hear it, if you'll be content without it
all, we will let it be, of course — only most
women — "
" Is your experience large ? Used you to
tell her, Molly, that you cared for her — loved
her ? Used you to assure her of it ? '
" Of course, I did ; don't be jealous, Juliet
■ — more fool I."
" I don't know how to be jealous, I
think," she said quietly. " I don't imagine
it's jealousy that I feel. I couldn't struggle ;
but my heart would sink. I only know how
to be unhappy."
" U nhappy ! But not to-day, my darling,
surely not now when we are together, you
and I, caring only for each other in all this
wide world. Why do you talk of unhap-
piness ? I am happy, why are not you ?
Are you thinking we shall have to part
soon ? "
He looked fondly down at her as he
spoke, the ardent lover in his every gesture,
and she, glancing up and meeting the elo-
quent tenderness of his eyes, thought she
ought to be happy, and wondered, with a
sigh that clothed her silence, why she was
But his last words roused her. She
began to consider how best to provide for
that parting which might herald a long
They w T ere walking towards Marshlands.
Was he meaning to go to the Rectory ? Did
she mean him to go, and, if so, as what ?
— with what coined explanation in introduc-
tion ? The truth was inadmissible. Virtu-
ally, he was now engaged to two women ;
it seemed to her that the second engagement
could not silently cancel the first, though she
was tacitly acknowledging that the second
could exist in spite of the first. She thought
of Dr. Thorns on his homeward way, trusting
her as he would wish to be trusted by her,
hoping the best for her, praying that she
should not fall into temptation, or if she did,
that her strength might be equal to it. The
reflection pierced her with remorse. She
had fallen. She knew that she had sacrificed
her self-respect, that, compared with the feel-
ings roused in her by Doctor Thorns' con-
fession, her present ones were vicious. Virtue
had gone out of her. She had yielded to
mere passion built on sand.
It was clear that Ormrod must not to to
Marshlands. It must never be known by
her family that he had been to Dudford, that
her time had been spent in loitering along
a bye-lane with a man engaged before the
world to another woman, that she had
plighted troth with him, and meant one day
to marry him. None of this must be known.
Absolute secresy must be brought to bear
upon the matter. She, who did not trust him
— who knew, to her torture, that she never
could trust him — was doomed to maintain an
appearance of perfect trust, to let him go
from her in uncertainty when they should
meet again, in ignorance of everything that
would transpire on his part, during the sepa-
ration. She could assert no claim upon him.
Molly Murdock, lying in an extremity of
weakness, with slow, hazy thought gathering
again painfully around earthly objects, was
his affianced wife ; on her finger a little tur-
quoise ring ; in her drawers a bundle of let-
ters ; trivial yet significant gifts here and
there among her other possessions, large
acknowledgments of claim and right in the
minds of every one about her — except two,
who would assuredly keep their own counsel.
She thought of her letter to Miss Gliddon,
penned in all honesty ; of her assurance to
Doctor Thorns that he would not come, that
she should not see him, that she had done
with him. She thought of all these things,
and was bewildered by the insidious madness
that seemed to have robbed her of sense,
free agency, cool judgment.
They were now within a mile of Marsh-
lands, and she stopped.
" I think we had best say good-bye here,"
He was astonished.
" I should like to go on, to see your
friends — your father. It is what I meant to
do if you were kind," he urged. " I made
arrangements for remaining a night away.
Surely, you'll let me spend the evening with
you, Juliet. Aren't you going to acknow-
ledge me ? "
" No ; I will never acknowledge to only
half of you," she said. " If I can be satis-
fied, you must. No one shall know that you
have been here."
" But it all comes to the. same thing ; in a
few weeks there will be the whole of me for
you, as there is now, if only you would see
it. But then I shall probably be in Italy,
and I may be bidden to settle there for
some months, and the uncertainty will be
miserable. It amounts virtually to your
acknowledging nothing between us. It
is not reasonable. I can't be satisfied
" Will you please think of me, and not
of yourself ? ' she said, stung to a point of
miserable misgiving which compelled the
"Of you?' he repeated. "I do, don't
I ? Of course, it is you."
She smiled bitterly.
"We will suppose, then, that it is. Well,
cannot you trust me ? '
" I can trust you fully, but "
" Perhaps you cannot trust yourself? '
"Oh, Juliet! what is possessing you?
You are very hard upon me."
" I would to God that I could trust you ! '
she exclaimed, regarding him with pained,
and helpless bewilderment.
" Of course, you must trust me," he
said. " We must, at least, write to each
But he found her unmanageable. She
shook her head, and signed to him to stop.
" I should hate a letter from you," she
said. " You would not tell me all. You
might be amusing yourself, flirting, and none
of it would reach me ; you would say so
much, sufficient to represent yourself in the
best light, and beyond that, all would be
dark and silent as the grave. No! if you
are going to be true to me, be true without
such traps for deceit, as letters."
"Juliet, either you don't love me, or you
are jealous," he exclaimed.
" I do love you, and I am not jealous."
she said ; " but vou don't understand how it
is, and I cannot make you, yet."
" And you really mean that I have to
leave you here, just go back to Dudford alone,
and return to London ? "
" Yes, and if either of us has anything
to be thankful for, in having met, I will tell
you that chance alone has brought it to pass.
Had you come to the Rectory, I should have
refused to see you ; you would have had to
go away again."
" Why do you speak so hardly ? " he said.
" I will not leave you thus. You must be
kinder, truer to yourself. I may not see you
for months, Juliet. You are mine at heart,
why not openly too ? Don't let us stand
here looking at each other in this way. If I
must go, won't you come back with me a
little way along the lane ? You must give
me something more than you have already
done. My own darling, you don't know
what a man must have from the woman who
will be his wife some day. Doesn't your
heart tell you, Juliet ? Is there nothing you
VOL. II. 8
ii 4 JULIET.
They had turned into the lane again,
Against her will, he had drawn her, and now
he took her two hands, and looked down into
her eyes with a fervour that seemed to pierce
her down-dropped lids. He felt her tremble.
" Must I go now ? " he asked.
"Yes," she said, faintly, scarcely breath-
The next moment she was in his arms,
he was kissing her passionately. She sub-
mitted without a struggle, but when he re-
leased her she was deathly pale, and in trying
to walk away, reeled, and almost fell. He
rushed back to her, but she waved him aside,
looking at him with haunting eyes of agonized
entreaty and reproach, her heart full of
thoughts, whose bitter foreboding he could
not penetrate ; of hopes and fears, whose slow
torture it was impossible that he should know.
No point in the county was more of a
favourite for a meet of fox-hounds, than the
Dower-house, and at the Dower-house the
first meet in the new year was always held.
It was a fine old place, built of red brick, but
half buried with creepers, with two wings
running back into a courtyard, and a frontage
of uneven gables, florid with twisted finials,
and fantastic woodwork. The drive up to
it wound through park-like ground between
an avenue of walnuts, until the sunk-fence,
bounding the garden, was reached. In
former times, when Dowagers had invariably
come here on the marriage of their eldest sons,
or those sons, with their wives, had inhabited
it so long as the old Squires lived, this half-
circle of garden ground had been laid out with
prim lozenge-shaped beds, and dipt ever-
greens ; but now there was a waste of rank
grass, a weedy walk, and stonecrop-choked
steps. To the left, were orchards, sheltered
by beech-hedges, with a few russet leaves left
rattling in the crisp air. To the right, the
pastures sloped down to a stream with an
oak-spinney beyond. All this had been too
quiet for Dowagers of late years, who had
preferred Bath or Homburg ; the Squires
had died in the prime of life, leaving an early
succession to their sons, and the Gilberts had
held the place as a farm for four generations.
On this bright day, in the first week of
the year, the avenue was alive with scarlet
coats, carriages were drawn up on the higher
edge of the pastures, the hounds were trot-
ting up across the open ; there was a thud of
THE GILBERTS. 117
horse-hoofs on the snow-sprinkled turf, a
cracking of whips, a ring of cordial voices
exchanging New Year greetings. Isabel, in a
rakish little Norwegian carriole, had just
brought her tandem into line, and was talk-
ing to the Master, for Mompesson, who had
ridden up by her, had gone to the house for
a draught of ale. The ponderous, iron-
clamped front-door stood wide open, and the
hall was thronged. A desolate, time-worn
place it was, even with a roaring fire, and the
sun shining broadly through the leaded panes.
Here and there, oak chests were made to
serve as tables for the spirits and wine, and
foaming tankards of ale ; on the walls were
trophies of stags' heads, and fox-brushes,
apparently mangy with age, and above the
mantelpiece, with its crumbling caryatidse,
was a faded genealogical tree of the Mom-
pesson family. Two women were busy
among the huntsmen with clean glasses and
corkscrews, the one, a -rheumatic old crone,
the other, a dark-haired, large-eyed slip of a
girl, who, but for Mompesson's presence,
would have got many a toast and joke.
With Mompesson there, however, the lightest,
felt familiarity inadmissible, for this brunette
was Lettice Gilbert, who was — as the county
whispered — the living ima^e of her aunt
Margaret, with whom Richard Momoesson
had run away, and thus connected by that
marriage with Mompesson himself.
When the hall began to clear, he filled
a liqueur glass and took it out to Isabel. She
was sitting with the reins drooping in one
hand, and the other arm thrown over the
back of the carriole, as dainty a picture in
her furs and velvet as any man could wish
" Bel/' said he, as she took the glass,
" there's a Gilbert looking after the corks and
dregs who's the prettiest brunette I ever set
eyes on. Truly they keep up their character
for good looks. I should just like you to see
THE GILBERTS. 119
her. The men have all been agog, but she's
behaved herself very decently, like a tanta-
lizing little prude."
" Poor Lettice," said Bel, " of course she
would behave decently ; but it seems to me
some of you men haven't, if you've been
trying to stare her out of countenance. I
hope you gave Mrs. Gilbert a civil word in
" It depends on what you mean by civi-
lity ; sometimes the civilest thing a fellow can
do is to be silent. I didn't put myself out of
the way, of course, but I nodded to her. She
looked sulky, and I wished her out of the
place, and I daresay she knew it. What are
you going to do — follow ? We're off to the
Black Planting, a sure find, you know."
" I daresay I shall follow so far," she said.
" I hope you'll have a good run and get all
the envy, hatred, and malice galloped out of
you. Yes, you may look disgusted, truth is
often unpalatable, sir."
In a few moments the whole Field had
moved off, panels flashing, red-coats blazing,
in and out among the old walnuts. Then
the gates were closed, the front door swung
to with a bane that startled the echoes, and
the old place fell asleep again, its windows
blinking in the sun, its weather-cocks lazily
veering, one thin wreath of smoke curling
skywards from one of its many stacks of
chimneys, and not a soul to be seen.
But this did not last long. Half an hour
passed, during which a short yelping from
the hounds about the Black Planting a quar-
ter of a mile away had changed into one
hollow bay, and been succeeded by a busi-
ness-like silence ; then there came a trotting
of ponies' feet along the road again, and
Isabel pulled up her tandem before the door,
eot down, and went in. The hall was deserted,
but she knew her way to the inhabited rooms,
and going down a flagged passage entered
the kitchen. Lettice Gilbert was sitting on
THE GILBERTS. 121
a table in the window, swinging her feet in
rhythm with the ballad she was singing as
she peeled potatoes, and Mrs. Gilbert had just
come in from the yard with an apronful of
chips, with which to coax the fire into a blaze.
"How do you do, Mrs. Gilbert?' said
Isabel, holding out her hand.
The old woman stared at her, reluctantly
extending her withered brown palm.
11 You're none Henry's lass, surely," shesaid.
" No, not Lily. I'm Miss Caroline's lass.
Miss Caroline, you know, who married to
" Oh ay, the painter chap. I reckon
that was another come-down to old Madam's
pride. Well, you're a bonny one grown, to
be sure, and it's a canny while since you were
here. Turn to the window, honey, and
let's have a good look at you. Ay,
you favour your mother in your fair skin ;
the Mompesson stock always was fair to
see. I remember her as well as the
others, Squire Richard and Henry. The
Squire was a favourite with all the country-
side, for all he never came to be Squire, more
shame ! and for all his rollicky ways. Ay,
he was a gay young chap, always free with a
joke, but as gentle as a woman with Marget,
my handsome lass, Marget. Lettice there's,
growing wonderful-like her aunt, only her
father's a mortal fear of her knowing it. I
tell him he's a fool, her looking-glass'll tell
her true, and it's best faced unless she
doesn't care a pin for her good looks, save
to win her one man. That's what Marget
did. It was all ' Mr. Dick,' he'd taught her
to call him so, then she came out sudden
and shy with k Dick,' and then she ran off with
him. Eh ! what a day, what a day when no
Marget came home! And Madam swore
there'd been no marriage, swore at the man
who'd married them for telling her truth,
swore at every one about her as never woman
did before or since surely.''
THE GILBERTS. 123
" But she believed the truth," said Isabel.
"She knew it was truth. It was suffering
that cost her her self-control She had her-
self to reproach, you hadn't. She often, often
thinks of it all, and wishes the wickedness
of it undone. She has never been happy
Who has, I should like to know ?" said
Mrs. Gilbert, fiercely. " Day and night have
been soured for me. She was my only lass,
and the bonniest and best ever woman had ;
and she left me, and I've never had one
word since, and I don't know whether she's
alive or dead. I fretted till fret was worn
out of me, and then I hardened, and I harden
yet. But I guess I shall hear something
before my time comes, if there's a just God
in heaven. It's that that keeps me alive.
It grows on me," she added, lowering her
Isabel was silent. She, too, had the same
presentiment, and her heart sank a little
i2 4 JULIET.
before she could rally her courage to face
this pregnant fact of sympathetic feeling.
" I came to tell you some news," she
said, presently, with a bright blush ; " my
cousin and I are to be married in spring,
" I'd heard that, and I thought it was
a fair piece of news, honey. The young
Squire's none so free as Richard was, but
he'il make a good wife a good husband ; and
it's right you and he should come together,
and have Coombe, if it's rightfully his. If
it isn't, you'll maybe each tide the trouble
over for the other. I guess he's uncom-
monly sweet on you ; and it's been kind in
you to come and tell me ; for all my own
lass should have been where you'll be, I'll
give you hearty wishes. You've always
been the only one in the family that's none
ashamed to own to the truth. My son was
telling me we might have to turn out any
dav to give place to Madam. It's in the
THE GILBERTS. 125
agreement, so we can't grumble at what
we've always had to expect."
" I don't think you will have to go," said
Isabel ; " I think Gran'll go away. I believe
she could not endure to live here, and a
warmer climate would suit her better. Let-
tice," she added, turning to the table, " I
should very much like to go round the old
place. Will you come with me ? "
Lettice was prepared for this request, for
Isabel never went away without it. The
Dower-house fascinated her. She might love
Coombe — a more stately place, with lavish
luxuries and the associations of happy days
of childhood and girlhood in its rooms and
galleries, its sheltered, Watteau-like gardens
and wood-encircled bowling-green and roll-
ing park ; but she was restless there — un-
settled. At the Dower-house she could
dream a happy woman's dream of home, and
people it with daily episodes of domestic life,
hear her husband's voice calling her, or the
i 2 6 JULIET.
prattle of their children, and eager patter of
little feet running - to assail the doors. Some-
how it seemed to belong more to her and
Mompesson. The fact was always before
her that he held Coombe because there was
no one else to hold it, and that any moment
might rob him of it. But she regarded this
less ambitious old place with a securer feel-
ing of proprietorship. She had cultivated a
love of it, so that her honest love might
infect Mompesson, if the great blow should
fall ; had embued it with a quaint, poetic
aroma, furbished it up, and planned altera-
tions, and persuaded herself that she could
be very happy there. She almost wished
they were marrying to the certainty of it as
their home. When she stood in the big
drawing-room, and contrasted its long, low,
mullioned windows, its cracked whitewash,
and the harvest of apples that turned the
floor into a mere store-house, with the modern
warmth of colour and cushioned velvetiness
THE GILBERTS. 127
of Coombe, she could not but shiver at the
idea that one day they might only be allowed
to remain there on sufferance while these
walls were papered and ventilated, the
chipped carving restored, the bevelled mir-
rors, deep sunk in the panelling, reset in
less tarnished frames. To Lettice Gilbert's
practical, housewifely mind the whole place
was a store-house. She walked on in front,
unlocking doors, throwing open shutters, and
dilating on the bacon and seeds and samples
and grains that filled some rooms ; the po-
tatoes and onions and old geranium plants
that littered others. The mingling of smells
was intolerable, their steps and voices echoed
in the corridors ; apparently there w T as no-
thing to redeem it from hopeless, almost
ugly, desolation but the spaciousness and the
stray bits of aristocratic antiquity — a prism
dancing here and there from the emblazoned
arms that ennobled a window ; a tapestried
panel billowing in the draught ; an oaken
dado, with mouldings carved in dog-tooth.
But Isabel traded on all these redeeming
points. Much money would be needed to
form a whole in character with them ; but
that they could command, and it would be a
task after Quin's heart to fit it up as it
deserved to be fitted up.
" I think some day soon I will come
again, Lettice, and bring Mr. Mompesson
with me. He has never seen over it, and it
is time he did," she said, turning away from
a thoughtful survey of the chapel, a huge
raftered chamber at the top of the house, with
an oriel, from whence the whole country as
far as Coombe was visible.
" Is there going to be a change for us,
then ?' Lettice asked. " I don't know which
Grandmother '11 like least, to have the young
Squire come looking about, or to leave it
altogether. He's not so civil to her as he
might be. It isn't the fault of either her or
me that Aunt Margaret ran away with a
THE GILBERTS. 129
Mompesson, but he treats us as though we'd
done it, and I am sure Grandmother's near
daft sometimes yet with fretting. She'll
walk in the orchard and spy round the trees,
as if she thought to find them sweethearting
again. It was in the orchard they used to
meet, and there's a big bough yet, low down
towards the grass, where he used to swing
her. Here, Miss Bel, you can see it from
this window/' she added, entering a little
room, whose dormer peeped from between
two gables. Isabel knew the room perfectly.
It had been Margaret's. She followed Let-
tice with a hushed footstep. It seemed to
partake of the mystery surrounding its former
occupant, to be shrouded and sacred. The
winter sun missed it, and the air was frosty
and chill. Lettice unhasped the lattice, and
she looked out, down upon the orchard,
peopling it with the two lovers who had
braved so much, and then vanished utterly
from their old horizon.
VOL. 11. 9
" I was not thinking of a change for you,"
Bel said, moving away again gently ; " at
present there is little prospect of this house
being wanted, but Mr. Mompesson has no
idea what it is, and I wish him to have. He
considers it resentfully, just as you consider
him. You should not have spoken so, Let-
tice. You do not know the suffering that
lies hidden in the simplest things, or how
some meet it bluntly, and others quietly. If
Mr. Mompesson comes here with me, you
will judge him differently."
" Then it will be because he is with you,"
Lettice said, looking at her with a smile, half-
When Isabel got home she found Juliet
in the hall. Juliet was not taking any Christ-
mas holidays ; they had been offered her and
declined, to the satisfaction of every one.
She was fond of sitting in the hall, and had
a table in a corner near the fireplace, where
she wrote or painted, without troubling to
THE GILBERTS. 131
move anything from day to day. As Isabel
entered now, coming in bright and sparkling
from the rapid motion in the frosty air, and
emerged from the velvet curtain draping
the door, she was wishing that she might
find Juliet quietly ensconced as usual ; and
her wish was gratified. Juliet was standing
up, winding wool from a chair, a graceful
action that suited her well. She turned as
Isabel came up, looking at her expectantly,
but with a reflective gravity very much in
harmony with her large and commanding
beauty. Isabel was greatly struck with her
aspect, thinking rapidly that she was beau-
tiful, but that she had not been so long, that
indeed this wonderful softness which seemed
to pervade her, and whose fascination lay in
its controlled melancholy, had only showed
itself within the last few months, and was
unhappily easily to be accounted for.
"Ah, Juliet," she said, sitting down on a
divan, and throwing her~ hat off, " do you
I3 2 JULIET.
ever intend to look happy again ? Do you
think Italy will make you happy when you
go in the spring, or are you cultivating this
Penseroso air because it suits you ? It does
suit you. dear."
Juliet's hands moved more quickly, but
otherwise she remained calm. Isabel, watch-
ing her with keenly wistful eyes, thought
that she was always calm now, but it was a
calm that seemed to feed upon itself and
resolve into secret torture. She never named
Ormrod, but Isabel was not too much self-
absorbed to note the hungry eagerness with
which she heard him named, and took care
that she should hear all there was to hear.
11 I am very very fond of Italy," Juliet
•said, " but I am not likely to be happier
there than here. I am very happy here."
" Papa heard yesterday from Mr. Ormrod,
he seems to lead a sandwich sort of life,
work between thick slices of amusement ; his
letters are amusing, very frank, you know,
THE GILBERTS. 133
giving one the impression that he tells every-
thing, and at the same time he passes by a
good deal. He is seeing a good deal of the
Dalyrymples in Rome ; as usual, they are
wintering there, and they are certainly nice
44 Very nice ; he is fortunate. Paul is
married, isn't he ? So I suppose he won't
be with them."
" Yes, Paul is married, and Thirza, but
she and her husband are there too, and the
other son has returned on leave from India,
and there are Evelyn and Mary. Do you
remember Evelyn ? "
44 Yes. She was so attractive, in spite of
her plainness, that I always wondered she
had not married."
11 She seemed to me married to Art,"
Isabel said. " I should think she and Mr.
Ormrod will fraternize well — not that he
ever names her ; but I have friends, other
friends, from whom I hear little things."
"Of course," said Juliet; "and what
1 little things ' do you hear ? "
" It is not much," said Isabel, looking
into the fire. " But I think Evelyn Daly-
rymple's fancy is caught at last ; and, if I
were her, I would not trust him."
The two little words dropped very
quietly, but Isabel knew how much lay be-
hind. She was silent a moment, her heart
welling with tenderness. She longed un-
speakably to storm that icy reserve, to help
her in some way ; but she dare not try.
Her knowledge of events was limited, and
she felt too keenly the degradation of such a
woman loving such a man.
" I have been finishing my Hunting
Ballad," Juliet said, presently; "but, for the
life of me, I couldn't help a catastrophe, Bel.
I sat down determined that it should be
bright throughout, but in some cases deter-
mination is a farce, and it was in this. How-
THE GILBERTS. 135
ever, I hope it will please you, and I shall
have it set to music and dedicated to you, or,
if you prefer, to your cousin."
" Yes, to him," said Bel. " It will please
him. He will always admire you ; you are a
* black-browed ' goddess to him, as, indeed,
you are to so many. With such choice, dear,
be very careful."
Juliet had come up to her with the verses
in her hand, and caught fully her look of
significant wistfulness. She stood a moment,
her eyes fixed on vacancy ; then she bent
down, and threw her arm round Bel's neck,
drawing her to her passionately ; and Bel
clung to her with a sound like a sob of
appeal. Her own happiness made her
greedy that other women, too, should be
happy, and here was one of the finest women
she had ever known suffering agonies of
moral dwarfage because a demon of distrust
had entered into her soul. That was what it
amounted to, in Isabel's opinion. If only
Juliet could shake herself free from this affec-
tion that lacked both respect and confidence,
she was certain that she would be happier
and nobler. To her it was incomprehensible,
as such anomalies are, too, to others.
" Why did she love him ? Curious fool, be still.
Is human love the growth of human will ? ' :
Juliet was at present living in a dream.
There seemed to be a lull in her life, the key
had changed to the Minor, and she was wait-
ing until it returned to the Major. A vague,
unacknowledged impression overlay all her
actions that this would be when they went
abroad to Itely, perhaps to Florence, where
Ormrod would then be studying. During
these months of his absence she had heard
nothing from him ; even Christmas, and the
opening of the New Year, had passed without
any remembrance. She had half expected
some sign of remembrance then, and among
the cards she had painted for her friends.
THE GILBERTS. 137
there was one on which she had expended
extra thought and care, whose flowers held
subtle symbols, whose verses rang a chime of
earnest feeling such as can only be sent with
truth to one, the dearest on earth. But when
it was finished she had courage and strength
to put it aside. If he remembered her, she
would send it. He did not, and it lay in her
desk. She was not disappointed, scarcely even
surorised. She had forbidden him to write,
it would be inconsistent to blame him because
he did not disobey her. So she argued.
What she did not know was, that she could
not have blamed him. Her heart was at
once too loving and too sore. She had got
beyond blame, for she knew him now ; she
did not excuse him either, she simply took
him as he was, as one whom it was her mis-
fortune to love. If nothing worse happened,
she would marry him some day, though per-
fectly conscious that her life might then be
passed in dumb following of her husband
through mazes of flirtation with other women,
married and unmarried. Her sensation now
was that of hopeless loneliness. Her heart
ached, and what more terrible than that dull
ache whose poignancy wakes the senses be-
fore day-dawn, wearies them through the
working hours, keeps them blankly gazing
into the darkness at night, and even per-
vades sleep ? Her physical health was
sound, no doctor could have probed her suf-
fering ; it was the anguish of God's furnace,
deep-seated, unwavering !
"Though the mills of God grind slowly.
Yet they grind exceeding small ;
Though in patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all."
It was fully settled now that they were to
go to Italy in Spring. Mrs. Mompesson had
vehemently declared that she would not go
to the Dower-house, that in fact she did not
mean to settle anywhere for some time. The
wedding was to be in Mav, the honevmoon
THE GILBERTS. 139
to take the form of a yachting cruise in
the Mediterranean, and the feasibility of a
general meeting and reunion at Genoa had
formed the subject of many long discussions.
Mrs. Ouin opposed it strenuously. It seemed
to her preposterous that Mrs. Mompesson
should travel at all in her old age, above all
so far as to Italy, where, if she were taken
ill, a great deal of trouble would be incurred.
And she thought her daughter's wedding tour
should be accomplished without anything so
vulgar as a general rush of welcome in a dirty
foreign port. In fact, because everyone else
desired it, it was natural to her to oppose
it, if only for the opportunity it afforded of
quenching Ouin's Ouixotic enthusiasm, and
setting her foot decidedly upon his sentimen-
tal delight in his only child. Her own satis-
faction in the prospect of losing her was
complete. Since the engagement she had
dismissed misgiving and apprehension from
her mind, and pooh-poohed them in others,
i 4 o JULIET.
being incapable of imagining such irony on
the part of Providence as a summary dis-
arrangement of her arrangements just when
they were to be realized. Her opposition
was, however, borne down by force of num-
bers, to Juliet's unbounded relief. The pro-
spect of their going phlegmatically to the
Dower-house was intolerable to her, apart
from the impossibility of then seeing Ormrod.
She felt that she could not have settled there.
The time for inertia was past with her ; once
let this present period of suspense wane, and
she must rush into action. Never again
would she be content to sit happily devoted
to mere intellectual work, teaching, studying,
creating, or gaining impressions, conscious of
her powers of fascination but careless of ex-
erting them, satisfied that life lay before her,
and that Fate would guide her. She knew
now that to be happy she must have a human
love devoting itself to her, some one to whom
she could devote herself, and all the manifold
THE GILBERTS. 141
satisfying completeness of a home. But
beyond this point numbness seized her — not
as it might once have done, because —
"By Fate compelled, she knew not where,''
but because she knew a struggle loomed
before her, and " the end she did not know."
If Ormrod chanced to be faithful, she would
risk everything and fulfil her heart's desire ;
if not — and here came a blank, agonized by
the fleeting indecision and changeableness,
and fear and despair, that rioted across it.
If not — it was only then that her
thoughts turned to Doctor Thorns, who had
been three months in Germany, and was now
at home again, uncured, and likely to remain
so. His absence had been an absolute relief
to her, and yet she had missed him sadly, and
longed for him impatiently sometimes. But
previous events had occurred in such breath-
less succession, there had been such a whirl
about her, such bewildering pressure upon
her best self and her worse self, her judg-
ment and her inclination, that this lapse into
freedom, into unshackled thought and reali-
zation, had brought her comparative peace.
It had seemed to her the best thing that
could have happened, that these two men
round whom her consideration constantly
hovered, should both be removed from her
close proximity, and imbued with that calmer
atmosphere which belongs to distance, and
eludes the feverishness accompanying daily
intercourse, observation, and reflection.
WHAT EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE .'
? ? "
It was about this time that Fate sent Juliet
down to the Rectory, and furthermore insti-
gated her, on finding the Rector in his garden,
to join him in his solitary constitutional to
and fro. This sort of thing had been tacitly
tabooed lately. On his return from his volun-
tary banishment he had found her changed,
constrained, and anxiously courteous. A
pall seemed to have fallen around her and
absorbed her frankness. She made no
attempt to revert to their old habits together,
but this would not have made him unhappy,
rather the reverse, if he- could have felt that
he was to blame, and her reserve was strictly
the result of the new footing upon which
his confession must have placed their inter-
course. This, however, he could not feel.
Some subtle perception assured him that she
thought of him scarcely at all, and that her
constraint arose from some circumstance of
which he was ignorant, and which it was her
intention to hide from him. That this related
to Ormrod he had no doubt. He could
indeed have sworn, without any proof, that
she had seen him again, and was more than
ever under his influence — a miserable thought,
which made him miserable.
They had, to-day, under the interposition
of what we call chance, walked up and down
for some time, when Juliet suddenly caught
sight of a figure in the churchyard — a man
going down the path to the chancel end.
His bearing seemed familiar to her, but he
was evidently a stranger to the place, from
the slow and careful pace which bespoke un-
" IV II A T EXILE FRO V ///A/SELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 45
certainty and curiosity. His back was turned
to them, as he stopped before one gravestone
after another, reading their records, and then
passing on ; but the more she looked, the
more certain she was that she oucdit to know
him, and that if he turned, she would. In
another moment, however, he was out of
sight ; they had not paused in their walk,
and were now at a po'.nt where the hedge was
higher. Juliet, possessed by strong excite-
ment, left the Doctor, and ran on to a grassy
slope swept by a cedar, from whence the
whole of the north and east of the church
was visible. As she gained it, the stranger
suddenly turned towards an old tablet that
was propped against the wall, and she saw
his face, without his having any suspicion of
her proximity. It was Gilbert Brunskill.
" What's the matter ? " asked the Doctor,
following her. " It's wet there, don't stand,
" You should prune the hedge, it doesn'f
VOL. II. 10
1 46 JULIET.
do for the Pastor not to overlook his flock,"
she said, coming down again, and endeavour-
ing to look indifferent, for it had flashed into
her mind instantaneously, that she must dis-
simulate with him, or his excitement of specu-
lation might prove overmastering.
"What, both dead and alive? Xo, no, I
prefer truly to overlook the dead. The only
thing that takes from the full pleasure my roses
give me, is a nasty idea I have about the
richness of the soil. I rarelv glance into the
jjravevard, there is nothing to see. What
were you looking at ? "
li A man who seemed to be a stranger ;
but I recognized him as a friend. He has no
idea I am here, but I think I must <^o and
speak to him, and probably I shall not come
back to-day. I must be going home.
As she spoke, she held out her hand im-
peratively, then left him. and went through
the little < r ate that led into the churchyard.
As a matter of course, he now mounted the
"WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 147
slope, and perceived the figure near the
chancel, towards whom Juliet was quickly
making her way, and who, as yet, neither saw
nor heard her. He was stooping over a
tomb consisting of a huge slab of stone sup-
ported on four pillars, apparently deciphering
laboriously its moss-grown inscription. But
suddenly, he started bolt upright, and looked
round, his gaze fixing itself on Juliet with an
alarmed and confused expression. She ad-
vanced close to him without his having taken
a step towards her, and when she offered to
shake hands, still remained motionless. To
the Doctor, suffering from ready jealousy,
this expression was enigmatical ; he could
not judge whether either were glad to see
the other, and yet it implied more than mere
" How do you do, Mr. Brunskill ? ' Juliet
was saying, with her usual steady composure.
" You here ! I was certain you would be
at Marshlands for the holidays," Brunskill
exclaimed, now taking her hand, and holding
it with a sort of nervous, searching- preoccu-
pation, which seemed to question her, but still
4< Why should you calculate your presence
by my absence ? "
" I am not naturally sociable, and this
being my first flight, I suppose I felt — owl-
like — to prefer darkness to light."
"Am I then, light?"
" You are more nearly so than I — being
" When did you learn how to make pretty
speeches ? '
" You can take it so if you like,' he
rejoined, with a smile. " I was, however,
speaking generally, in allusion to perception."
" I can assure you, my perceptions are
quick," she said, and something significant in
her tone absorbed his momentary relief, and
caused his keen eyes again to search hers.
They were cold and unconcerned, her manner
IVIIA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 149
was even and unexcited ; and yet he felt
that she possessed some real or fancied
He now made a movement to leave the
grass, glancing at Juliet's dress, which was
already wet from contact with the snow.
Juliet, however, stood still, looking round.
Before them w r as a large slabbed square with
spiked railings, and a padlock, like an iron
cage ; on every other side were stone sepul-
chres, many of the little pillars cracked or
even crooked, and giving an indescribable
air of neglected decay. Upon the railings of
the vault hung three faded and weatherbeaten
wreaths, the flowers of which they had been
made, totally unrecognizable, and adding
desolation instead of maintaining an appear-
ance of attention.
" All these are the Mompesson tombs,"
said Juliet, waving her hand comprehensively.
Brunskill glanced at her quickly, and did
not speak. He felt that speech was useless.
i 5 o JULIET.
Whether he acquiesced or feigned indiffer-
ence, her amount of assurance would remain
the same. But the sensation of being in the
power of a fellow-creature, and that a
woman in whom he was deeply interested,
was novel and exciting. He was thrilled by
suspense as he controlled his surprise, and
waited for her knowledge to unfold itself.
She, too, was excited ; but self-control was
even easier to her than to him, and she
looked perfectly calm.
They had now reached the gravelled
path again, and were walking down it in
silence. But Juliet presently diverged, and
he, impelled irresistibly to follow her, found
himself in a corner among grim yews, where
five head-stones, standing in a row, were
differently inscribed with memorials of the
Then he knew without the slightest doubt
how much she knew.
11 Have you been in the village ? ' she
' « WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 151
asked, as they passed through the lych-
" Yes. Why ? "
" Your cousin, Lettice, who is well known,
is wonderfully like you."
The die was cast, and now she began to
be afraid of her own temerity, until his silence
proved to her quick judgment that he could
not deny her insinuation, even if he re-
" And to whom beside you is my identity
known ? " he asked at length.
" Only to one other, and that yourself,"
she answered, gathering as much from his
" That is well," he said. " Between us
two it will rest."'
The severity of his tone of command
covered his relief, but did not awe her. She
intended to know more.
" Have you been to the Dower-house ? '
" I have been up the avenue."
"And the Hall?"
" I have not been to Coombe."
" Are you going now ? "
" We are walking in the opposite di-
" Don't you mean to go ? "
" But don't you mean to return and
eventually make yourself known as Richard
Mompessons son ? '
" I am returning to Moorhead, and
have no intention of taking the step you
She looked at him incredulously.
" Do you know all to which you can lay
a claim ? Do you know to how much you
have a ri^ht ? — Coombe Hall at least, and
that is no little matter."
" I know everything. No consideration
you could name would induce me to alter
my intention of leaving all as it is. It is in
' ' WHA T EXILE T'ROM HIMSELF CA AT FLEE f" 153
good hands. Henry Mompesson has nothing
to fear from my existence."
" But what if, by discovering yourself,
you could bestow great happiness, assuage
deep sorrow — sorrow's worst phase, re-
" I know to whom you allude. There is
only one who must be suffering remorse,
and as she, too, is the only one who would
welcome me interestedly, she must continue
to suffer remorse. She brought it upon her-
self. It would be absurd for me now to
sacrifice every one to her. She cannot have
many years to live, and if I were to discover
myself, the punishment would fall upon the
innocent, and remove all punishment from
the only guilty one. No, I should not sa^
so," he added, hesitating, and then plunging
on, while an expression of keen pain crossed
his face. — " Perhaps the worst grief that could
befall her — worse than she has yet known,
lies buried in my silence. If I spoke, it
would have to be fully ; every question would
demand an answer — useless agony would
be incurred, fresh laceration of old wounds
on my part and on hers, new horror and
remorse such as she cannot have imagined.
All this would be intolerable to me ; a long
space of years has not made it seem less so,
and my resolution has never wavered. I
think if I had to tell her all, I should loathe
her : her pride, her imperiousness, her foul
taunts, caused the misery and the sin which
haunt me, and would haunt her ten thousand
times more. Believe me, I am merciful."
There could be no doubt of it ; each word,
the restrained vehemence of his voice, his
eager gestures, and final simple appeals
carried conviction with them. Juliet felt
the shadow of some awful secret, and re-
"It amounts to self-effacement," she said
" Never mind what it amounts to. I don't,
• ' WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 155
since it can only affect myself," he rejoined,
relapsing into impenetrable reserve.
"But, if you were to marry ? "
He blushed furiously.
" That is improbable," he said, in a low
Juliet hesitated a moment. If he pos-
sessed superior knowledge on one point, she
did on another ; and her nature was such,
that she urged herself to use it, because it
cost her so much pain to do so.
" Mr. Brunskill, you will marry," she
said. " Forgive me for trespassing, but I
must do so. I know there is onlv one
woman in the world whom you would marry,
and I do believe — I am certain — that you
will win her one day. Forgive me. I wish
both you and her to be truly happy. She
is under a mistake now, and she will only
emerge from it in sorrow ; but that very
sorrow will lead her to better things, to true
appreciation of you. You have only to wait,
and that you know how to do You may
not have to wait much longer. "
11 How do you know all this ? You seem
to know everything," he exclaimed, vehe-
" I know sufficient. I would not speak
unless I were very certain. Beyond speaking
thus to you I am powerless — yes, utterly
powerless. I think I am in a net, wholly
entangled. I cannot get out. I haven't
moral strength to break the meshes. I can't
evade them. I am an unhappy woman."
" I am sure you are," he said.
This calm acquiescence did more for her
than either contradiction or sympathy would
have done : it kept her calm.
" How can I help you ?' he asked, pre-
"Help vie!' she echoed, drearily, with a
mirthless laugh. " How can any one ? And
yet, if any one can, it is you. Make her love
you, Mr. Brunskill."
41 IVIIA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? n 157
In her deadly earnestness she had laid
her hand on his arm, and he, turning to her
suddenly, met her glowing eyes fixed upon
him in a still agony of significant appeal.
" If she loved you, I think I should be
happier," she added, scarcely above her
Over Brunskill there swept a wave of
the strongest feeling he had ever experi-
enced, apart from the strictly personal.
Everything was illuminated as though by a
flash of lightning. Involuntarily he stood
a moment to realize the bewildering truth.
Then he turned and looked at her.
She never forgot the supreme pity of that
After it, they walked some distance in
silence. The sun had burst out, and the
snow-covered landscape was glistening daz-
zlingly. A wind in the night had drifted
the storm beneath the hedges, and piled it
in miniature Alpine trickery of peak and
crevasse and glacier. Across the fields was
a farmhouse, from whose roof the snow had
slipped, and its red tiles, above deeply-
sloping eaves, threw into stronger relief the
prevailing whiteness. Against it, some rigid
frost-bound sycamores extended sentinel
arms, and flecked it with shadow ; and a row
of straw-stacks shone golden in the light.
Juliet saw it all without thinking of any
of it. But she never forgot it. It is in
moments of keen mental crisis that the mind
reaps the most indelible, impersonal im-
pressions — to be recurred to in the future
with sharp pangs of association.
They went a little further, and then Juliet
" I must be returning. There is a short
cut from here," she said.
" I will go with you, if I may."
" It leads to the park."
" I need not go so far."
"Would nothing induce you to enter it ? '
" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE r ' 159
" I don't say so ; but nothing would in-
duce me to live there. Under no circum-
stances would I ever live at Coombe. I
would reverse the succession. If I claimed
anything, it would be less than Coombe,
which would neither suit me nor my wife."
" Have you always known who you
" No, only since I was about twenty-two,
when certain papers came into my posses-
sion through the death of a good old clergy-
man who had befriended me. Immediately
afterwards I changed my plans of life, and
soon found myself settled at Moorhead."
" How dare you stay there when the
Ouins came ? "
" I enjoyed the risk ; it was the most
stimulating event of my existence. I rarely
ran against Mrs. Ouin, but, when I did, her
haughtiness struck me as deliciouslyfpiquant.
At any moment she might have been gro-
veiling in the dust, simply by the unlocking
of my escritoire and spreading before her of
a roll of papers taken therefrom. I daresay
Quin never saw my father, and had no per-
sonal acquaintance with the Gilberts. I had
only Mrs. Quin to fear, and my position
exempted me from fear. When she did not
cut me, she conveyed deeper insult by her
mode of noticing me — she never ofave me a
thought. Isabel was a mere child so lone as
they came to the Church-house. Now, 1
suppose, she is going to be married. I only
wish, with all my heart, that I could convey
to her, without causing her any alarm or
unhappiness, the assurance that she may
settle at Coombe as her home, and her chil-
dren's after her ; but silence seems best even
here. I need not ask you to respect all that
I have said as confidential, Miss Laybourne,
She knew what he was going to say.
and stopped him ; not, however, in indignant
WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE V* 1 6 1
assent, but with an assertion of independence
that took his breath.
"You are right. It is not necessary to
ask such a favour of me. I shall repeat no-
thing that you have told me ; but remember,
you did not tell me the one great fact from
which everything else diverges. At no time
has anything passed on your part to make
me feel bound in honour to secresy ; while,
at the same time, I have long had suspicions
of my own, independently of what you had
said. Those suspicions I have already
named to a friend, but he is true as steel ;
" Wait one moment, how did your sus-
picions arise ? "
11 I always knew there was a mystery
about you, and it interested me ; but I only
guessed the truth when at Moorhead last
summer. The friend to whom I named it is
Doctor Thorns. I was with him when I saw
you in the churchyard, and he would see me
VOL. II. II
1 62 JULIET.
join you. Some months ago he talked of
£oine to see the Gliddons, with the sole
object of seeing you. I shall tell him that
you have been here, that you could prove
your identity as Richard Mompesson's son.
How dare you come here, if you were deter-
mined to remain unknown ? "
" I was certain you would be at home."
" No ; I don't care for holidays, and
Marshlands represses me. But others might
have recognized you. Speculation on that
subject is still rife. Oh, Mr. Brunskill, this
passive course may not be right. Mrs. Gil-
bert, your mothers mother, surely claims
your consideration. She had nothing to
blame herself for ; but her suffering has been
great, and naturally she would thankfully
" No," he said.
" Not thankfully, Juliet."
" Ah ! " she said, with a deep breath,
" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 63
" there is indeed much which I do not know.
But still, if you came to your own, there would
be a sense of atonement. I shall tell Doctor
Thorns. I must ; it is my right quite apart
from you. And you say no one knows ;
therefore you have had no advice, no judg-
ment brought to bear upon the matter but
your own. Of course, mine is nothing ; but
that of a man of his calibre would be invalu-
able, and you might feel his arguments to be
indisputable, even if opposed to your inclina-
tion, and suffer yourself to be influenced.
How I wish that you w r ould return with me
to the Rectory, and allow me to introduce
you. You could not but appreciate him, and
there would be nothing to fear."
" You forget that I do know him," said
Brunskill. " We used to meet when he came
over to see your father. We have had many
a pleasant ramble and talk, and I already
appreciate him very fully."
" How strange it all is!' Juliet exclaimed.
i6 4 JULIET.
" To think that you should have been associ-
ated with people so closely associated with
Coombe, and yet have remained unknown !
Your resolution has been indomitable.''
11 To me that is not so strange as the fact
that I have at last yielded to the weakness of
" ' What exile from himself can flee ? '
Juliet quoted. " In the end you have been
human, and I am convinced that there is
more in it than now appears. The motive
power to resist is leaving you ; another power
is intervening, and working up to something
which as yet neither you nor I can see. It
was the merest chance that I was in the
Rectory garden to-day, for I have scarcely
been there at all lately ; had I not been, you
would have come and gone again unknown."
" I have never felt settled since you were
at Moorhead in summer — "
"There is Coombe," Juliet said, sud-
"WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 65
They had been skirting a spinney which
crowned a slope, such as in Lincolnshire is
dignified by the name of hill, but which to a
Yorkshireman would scarcely present even
the idea of a rise in the ground. In the
slight hollow beyond, a park unrolled itself in
gentle undulations and lavish privacy of
trees, but a clear space around the Hall left
its southern side visible. It stood upon a
balustraded terrace, a spacious white building
amid the snow, the regularity of its windows
redeemed from absolute modern ugliness by
the ivy massed round them and reaching
here and there to the parapet above the
eaves. To the left, the trees again clustered
thickly, but not too thickly, now that they
were leafless, to hide the rapid movement to
and fro of a dash of scarlet that caught Brun-
skill's eye at once. A figure was descending
the steps from the terrace towards these
trees, and gradually quickened its pace to a
run. Juliet looked at Brunskill and smiled.
1 66 JULIET.
" Thereby hangs a tale," she said.
-Who is it?"
There are two of them. The bright spot
represents Isabel skating in lonely dignity on
the pond below the bowling-green ; the other
is Mr. Mompesson. They had a tiff this
morning ; I think they only got it up as a
relief to the monotony of sentiment, which
must cloy at last, surely. And now they are
going to make it up. Where are you going
from here ? '
" To Stamford, and thence home."
" Give my love to Miss Gliddon."
They shook hands and she left him.
But she had not gone twenty paces before
her resolution wavered, and she stood still
and looked round. He was still in sight.
She ran a little way and then called him.
He heard her and returned.
"There w T as something — something I
wanted to ask you," she said, gazing at him
with eyes from which all expression had
« ' WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 167
been forced back. " In the summer after my
visit, when Mr. — Ormrod came, what — did
he — what did you think of him ? "
" As usual," said Brunskill, dispas-
She repeated the words blankly.
"He was only in for a few moments," he
said, feeling that he had stabbed her.
" Do you remember what you said — ' the
proof of the crop is in the threshing out ? '
" Miss Laybourne, I will tell what trans-
pired," Brunskill said, walking on slowly to
avoid her glassy stare, and compelling her to
relax the rigidity that seemed to have over-
powered her. "He was evidently piqued to
find you gone, and wished to account for his
arrival independently of himself or any one
in the Dale. Thus he said that you had
sent for him, insinuating by his manner
what 1 felt to be untrue, and therefore re-
sented on your behalf. • He did not appre-
ciate the remark with which I vindicated
you. We were glad when he almost imme-
"Ah!" said Juliet, and it was like a
His heart ached for her, but he felt him-
self powerless to alleviate what her own
resolution alone could overcome. He walked
by her side until they reached the village,
then again held out his hand.
" Juliet," he said, in his deep and sooth-
ing voice, with his eyes bent upon her,
"never persuade yourself that your happi-
ness with Ormrod would be ensured by Molly
being satisfied with me. Never persuade
yourself to link your life with his."
Her hand was in one of his, and involun-
tarily, in his earnestness, the other folded
over it. He was moved beyond himself by
her silence, and the pale stillness of her down-
dropped face. But the pause gave him
courage. It seemed to speak of an influence
" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 69
over her — slight, perhaps, but tangible, and
to urge him to push it to the utmost.
" Promise me," he said.
" I promise," she said, still with averted
face ; and then in a moment she raised it,
and smiled a smile that haunted him for its
" But he may persuade me" she said.
Contrary to his intentions, Brunskill did
not, after this, return home. What had
happened was very different to what he had
arranged. He had meant to come and go
merely as a satisfaction to himself, for the
sake of exorcising the spirit of unrest which
had seized him after Juliet's disclosures, and
made him long to identify himself in some
way, however remote, with his own kith
and kin. Fate had, however, taken the
matter out of his hands, and the result
proved agitating. The sensation alone of
having walked all day over his own heredi-
i 7 o JULIET.
tary lands, among a people whom he might
own as tenantry, within hail of three genera-
tions of relations, and on soil to which he
possessed manorial rights, had brought with
it mingled elation and melancholy, and in-
creased the unrest instead of banishing it.
But he would not have allowed this to in-
fluence him so strongly as to compel further
wanderings, had it not been for his meeting
with Juliet ; the one event against which he
had, before starting, felt it necessary to guard,
had come to pass through the simplest of
accidents, and he could not but catch the
reflection of her view r of it at the same time
as he endeavoured by his own calm force
of will to curl) suspense and strengthen a
resolution which she had aptly termed, in-
After leaving her he determined to walk
to Stamford — a distance of eleven miles —
instead of taking the train at the little station,
which, though far from Coombe, bore its
1 ' WHA T EXILE L R OM HIMSELF CAN FLEE?" 171
name. Sharp exercise alone could make
him regain mastery over himself, and con-
quer the mournfulness with which old
memories, and Juliet's own unhappiness
had filled his mind. It was dusk when he
reached the town, the shop-windows were
lighted up, and the streets full of dirty
trampled snow, which had melted from the
pathways, and was gurgling down the gutters.
As he reached the " Burleigh Arms," the
chimes were ringing six o'clock, from the old
church near, which loomed in massive out-
lines against the sky. Their music fell on
his ear like an appeal of eternity against the
feverishness of Time. How many " little
lives of men ' had they pealed from the
cradle to the grave, sweetly striking, as it
were, from Heaven, into busy human hearts
beating and hurrying below ; weaving silver
threads into the plain woof of the work-a-day
world, and in the silence of night above the
sleeping town, where here and there, aching
i 7 2 JULIET.
hearts and limbs could not sleep, melting
perhaps, from silver reminder into more
aspiring and assured notes of gold, which
seemed to keep time with the steadfast
" music of the spheres." Brunskill was glad
that he should spend the night here.
He went out after tea, feeling unwearied
in spite of his long spell of walking, and
sauntered round from the new bridge to
the old, pausing there, and leaning over the
parapet, to watch the swollen river with its
quivering lights from the houses on the
banks. Was not this " Stamford-town." with
Burleigh House standing a few miles distant ?
By degrees, as he recalled the story, it
merged into his own experiences, and Molly
Murdock seemed to personify the "village
maiden." If ever she were "satisfied' with
him— as he had said to Juliet— it became
clear to his calmer judgment, that the most
serious step must be taken. She must know,
and in justice to her, others. Her children
IV HA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 173
must not be put off with a feigned name,
meaningless and barren, by which they could
claim no kinship with the outside world, and
which would send them eventually into society
as impostors. As he sauntered on, thinking
deeply, he became most thankful for his pre-
sent position in her eyes. The worse was
told ; if she loved him, it would be in spite of
it, and in spite, too, of the divine pity with
which he was conscious that she now re-
garded him. What remained to be told
would be powerless to bias her, either to
encouragement or withdrawal, for she would
not know it until they were pledged to each
other by surer bonds than the merely social,
and he could prove his honour to her by
sacrificing those wishes of his father, which
had hitherto countenanced his own repug-
nance to acknowledging the truth. He
knew, that in everything he thought right,
she would uphold him, and he now deter-
mined finally on his course of action. He
would assist Henry Mompesson to cut off
the entail, on the sole understanding that it
had never to be renewed, and would then
appropriate the portion of a younger son.
leaving Coombe to him, and taking the
Dower-house for himself. His fancy had
always hovered round the Dower-house before
he knew it, from its association with his
mother, and her happiest days ; and after
seeing it, it did so doubly, for its own sake.
He could be supremely happy there, and
Molly would be better pleased with a subsidi-
ary position to Isabel's, Mrs. Henry Mom-
pesson would maintain the family dignity in
the county, as being " to the manner born,"
and his wife would maintain her own dignity
and harmonize with the old place which he
had elected tor her home. And at this point
in his reflections, he suddenly laughed aloud.
Years ago, Laybourne had dubbed him, "A
very Lucifer," and it flashed across him now,
that such he was, for he found himself com-
"WHAT EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 175
placently considering that the Dower-house
had been the home of his forefathers for
generations before they built Coombe Hall.
In the bottom of his heart, he was proud of
his blood, and his name.
The following day he took the train, but
instead of going north, went south, which
was again totally opposed to what he had
purposed on leaving Moorhead. He had
asked Mr. Gliddon for two days, but wrote
to him from Bath to sav, that he had taken
two more. He then went forward into
Devonshire, and made his way to a little
village close upon Exmoor. Here he ob-
tained leave to search the parish registers,
wishing to satisfy his mind on the long vext
question of the entry of his own and his
sister's births, for he did not know at what
period, after his marriage, his father had
assumed a false name, whether at once, or
not until the removal to Cambley-under-the
Cheviots. He found the entry without any
trouble ; his name being specified as Gilbert,
and his sister's as Caroline — Mompesson.
Three years later occurred the registry of
Caroline's death — an event always justly asso-
ciated in his mind with Richard Mompesson's
eventual confirmed drunkenness. Under an
old thorn in the churchyard, he found a little
cross, half buried in the grass, and bearing
the initials " C. M." The sexton, an old man,
who, from his painful speech, had evidently
suffered from a paralytic seizure ; had been in
the vestry with him, and followed him outside.
" I remember it," he said, with an effort at
loquacity ; but on questioning him, Brunskill
found that he could remember no more.
Juliet, however, repented of her intention
of telling Doctor Thorns, and wrote to Brun-
skill to say so. She feared he must have
thought her interference obtrusive and un-
pleasant. After all, it was a private matter,
which she could claim no right to broach to
any one, and if he wished, she would not only
treat it as strictly confidential, but endeavour
to clear the Doctor's mind of any suspicions
she might have fostered before her own had
It was a letter which he thoroughly
appreciated, both for tone and substance, but
VOL. II. 12
i 7 8 JULIET.
for the life of him he could not prevent a
slight feeling of disappointment, and found
that he had built hopes which he did not
until now realize, upon the knowledge and
advice of this fellow man. Everything seemed
to fall flat again, and was removed to the
remote contingency of his marriage. Prac-
tically the letter made it impossible that
Doctor Thorns should be told. It would be
inconsistent and contradictory US) his resolu-
tion to sanction it of his own free will. So
long as Juliet had urged a claim to indepen-
dent action, he could only stand aside and
allow her to take her course ; but now he
had nothing to do but thank her for the con-
sideration, and maintain his opinion that at
present the matter was best left alone. He
had, however, some difficulty in persuading
himself that it really was so, for once having
thought that he mi^ht be relieved of its
onus, he found the responsibility more cumber-
some on resuming it.
" Yes, I enjoyed my holiday," he said to
" You deserved to do so," she said,
warmly. 4 ' But what a time of year to
choose, the whole country lost in snow. Had
you much snow in Bath ? "
" None," he said, smiling, after a moment's
pause to remember that he had stayed an
hour there for the sake of writing to Mr.
" Ah ! you were fortunate. I hope it was
frosty, so that you didn't get your feet wet.
One can't expect to be properly look after in
" I was all right, I am old enough to look
11 Of course/' she assented, laughing.
« And did you like Bath ? "
" It is a fine town, lying in a basin,
" Oh, I don't want geographical details.
Were you there all the time ? "
" Did you go to see friends ? "
"Good heavens! what a monosyllabic
man you are ; but I know I am an inquisitive
old woman. I'm not at all offended."
" I am sure you're not," he said.
" Do you call it a happy knack, that of
making one believe the best of oneself?'
" Do you mean that I have it ? ' he asked,
looking up at her ; " I haven't thought about
it ; but I do believe that if one thinks
badly of oneself a very bad plight has been
" So bad that probably one would shirk
realizing it," she said.
They were sitting in the study at the
Vicarage, the Vicar having gone to New-
bridge, and Brunskill was on the sofa, prod-
ding the carpet with his stick, which he held
between his knees. lie now got up and
went across to the window. Hills and valley
were alike snow-covered and glistening in the
sun — a sight fair to see, but which was lost,
upon him, for his eyes at once fell on a figure
coming up the glebe.
" Molly is here," he said, in a low tone.
"Molly!" cried Miss Gliddon. "What
has possessed the girl, there'll certainly be
more snow soon. Go and open the gate for
her, will you ? "
Thus Brunskill was standing at the gate
when she reached it. She had not looked
up in climbing the hill, and the snow having
smothered his footsteps, he took her com-
pletely by surprise. She stood a moment
looking at him before they shook hands.
" So you are here," she said ; " they said
there was no school, and you were away, and
I thought something must have happened.
I came on purpose to ask about you."
" You did ? " he said, and a flash of delight
transfigured his face.
They went in, and Brunskill hung up her
1 82 JULIET.
freize cloak, then made her sit clown while
he drew off her goloshes, during which pro-
cess he looked up and she looked down —
" It is a great pleasure, but nevertheless
you should not have come. As you have, I
have the right of gratitude to take care of
you," he said, waiting while she took off her
hood, a red cashmere edged with swans-
down, which Miss Gliddon had given her.
In the study Miss Gliddon had stirred
the fire into a blaze and drawn up a deep
basket chair to the rug.
" What has brought you in such a storm ?"
11 Nothing particular," said Moll)-, holding
one foot to the fire.
" On the contrary, something very ordi-
nary," said Brunskill, unable to resist teasing
" No, nor yet ordinary," she retorted ; " 1
always mistrust humility. See how well my
hair is growing ;" and she shook her head,
with the result of electrifying the numberless
golden brown curls that crowned it and lay in
soft rings on her forehead.
As they looked, both felt that her charm
certainly did not depend upon the length of
her hair, for anything more charming than
this piquant little head it was impossible to
imagine. It was just such a head and face as
Sir Thomas Lawrence would have delighted
to paint ; and as she bent towards them,
looking up with eyes half serious, half saucy,
Brunskill turned away abruptly to rid him-
self of the witchcraft that was so old, and
yet always so new, and whose subtle uncon-
sciousness fevered him as nothing else did in
the whole world, haunting him by day and
giving him dreamful nights. He thought
there could be no prettier picture under the
sun than she had made as she stood at the
garden gate, her brown cloak almost touching
the snow, her face, with its soft rings of hair
1 84 JULIET.
framed in the bright hood, and her eyes
fixed upon him in solicitous inquiry — all her
thought for the moment bent upon his con-
cerns. As he went back to his afternoon's
work, she seemed to flit by him ; it thrilled
him to fancy he was again looking into
But no sooner was Miss Gliddon alone
with her, than she saw there was some trouble
on her mind that damped her usual happy
spirits. So long as Brunskill had been there,
she had evidently assumed a light-hearted-
ness she was far from feeling ; but now she
became grave and preoccupied, gazing into
the fire with a shadow of sadness stealing
over her face, such as it grieved her friend to
see. Then came a sitdi like the catching of
two breaths in one, and Miss Gliddon could
bear it no longer.
She knew well what the trouble was, and
that its best relief would be gained by speech ;
and once having arrived at a conclusion, it
was her invariable habit to act upon it.
Palaver was not consistent with her charac-
ter, neither had she any patience with it in
others. To tackle a point was her chief
interest in having a point to tackle, and yet
she had on occasion a way of doing it which
proved it to arise from sympathy rather than
from what she often termed her "pet sin'
" My dear," she said, putting her hand
under Molly's chin, and gently turning her
face towards her, " what is it ?"
" I wanted to see you."
" I am sure you did, and you wanted to
talk, and I am ready to listen. I will go on
rounding the heel of this stocking, and listen
and help you, if I can."
" Yes, you always help me, and most,
I think, when you only listen. There is a
great deal which I must say if I begin."
" Well, we have plenty of time."
Molly was sitting on a low stool on
1 86 JULIET.
the hearth-rug, and now clasped her hands
round her knees, and again averted her
" Of course it is about Noll," she said.
" I rarely hear from him now, and I said
something in my last letter about wishing to
hear oftener if he could spare the time. I
did not think it unreasonable to say so, be-
cause, from his notes, it was easy to judge
that he was spending a great deal of time in
amusement. The other day I had another
letter, and I think he had felt sorry, and yet
somehow he managed to pain me more than
he had ever done before. He told me that I
must not expect to hear oftener from him,
and might not even hear so often, as his life
was becoming full of other and more exacting
interests, which were necessary to his social
prospects. Of course, I don't wish to stand
in his way, but it seemed to infer that I
When her voice ceased, there was a long
" I think it inferred more than that," Miss
Gliddon said at last.
" You do — what ? " asked Molly, sharply ;
and then she added, almost under her breath,
" I know ; don't say it."
" My dear child, it is best to say it, best
to face it, and try to rid oneself of the bitter-
ness. Have you thought of it before, or has
it come suddenly ? "
" I haven't thought of it because I
wouldn't ; but things have puzzled me for
some time ; and yet I thought, when he took
so much trouble as to come over when I was
ill, he must care."
" How did you know that he came
" How ? I have known since I began to
get better ; I think the postman met him, and
told Mag Woodrup at the Post-office, and she
told Aunt Ormrod, who told Tamar. It was
1 88 JULIET.
very good of him, was it not ? He can have
had so little time to spare when he could not
even go up into Moorhead, and of course 1
was too ill to have seen him."
As she spoke, in her ignorance, she
looked up wistfully, and yet it was certain
that she had perfect faith in her own con-
struction of Ormrod's visit, and had dwelt
upon it as an extenuating circumstance which
could only be claimed in her own favour.
Miss Gliddon was speechless. That an in-
cident in itself so treacherous, should have
leavened this unforeseen mischief, was be-
yond her realization for the moment, and she
knew not how much or how little to say in
" What does he chiefly dwell upon in his
letters ? " she asked.
"In one he named the pictures he had
sold, and described the subject he is working
upon for the Academy Exhibition in May.
It must be a fine picture, wild and weird,
with an extraordinary name, which I don't
remember ever seeing before. He got the
idea from a poem, and something he said led
me to think that Miss Laybourne had given
it to him for the purpose. She who cut my
hair, you know. I wonder why she cut my
" For your own good, I should think.
The doctor said it was quite right, and would
probably have ordered it himself in a day or
" I think there was more in it, and I hope
I am not uncharitable, but why should she
have been so strange, as Tamar says, when
I named him ; and they must have been inti-
mate when she could give him a poem of her
own to use for his first public exhibition sub-
ject. You see, I have thought a great deal,
" Whatever you do, don't blame Juliet ! "
Miss Gliddon exclaimed.
" Then there is something ? "
" I know nothing. I only guess, as you
do too, Molly."
" I didn't know if it were her or another
lady who is in Rome, and whom he seems
constantly to see. He writes almost entirely
of amusements and ladies whom he meets,
and he says this Miss Dalyrymple is very
fascinating and very clever — quite different
to what I am, you see," added Molly, with a
But it was because that smile was so
quiet that it was pitiful, clothing the sort of
heart-break which resists sympathy because
it will not acknowledge a need of it, or, in-
deed, its own existence. The simple story,
with its suofofestive dawning of distrust and
misgiving, its effort at pure charity and ins
and outs of apprehension, doubt and convic-
tion, told in this simple frank fashion, without
comment, self-pity, or condemnation, was
infinitely touching. Miss Gliddon felt that
the truth, however hard it might be, was
accepted, and would be lived with and lived
down, without human intervention.
" What shall you do ? ' she asked pre-
" I think only one thing is left me to do.
1 will never stand in his way."
" There is not so much fear of that as of
his standing in his own."
" That is what I shall have nothing to do
with," Molly said, firmly. " I wished to help,
but it is true I might only have hindered
him," she added, in a moment. " If my
little best is disdained as really too little, it
still leaves me nothing to regret for his sake,
and I have only to overcome what there is
for my own. I see clearly now that I never
should have allowed him to care at all for
me. It was simply absurd ; only I thought
as he did care, then I might."
Her voice broke a little, but was still
more self-reliant than self-mistrustful, and no
tears gathered in her eyes, neither did she
unlock her hands from round her knees — yet
this was no " stony grief," but the resignation
of a patience which trusts in a Higher Pati-
ence that holds all the threads and thrums of
"Act quickly, Molly dear," said Miss
Gliddon, bending over her and softly strok-
ing her hair — that dipt hair that had a
" I shall, now that some one else knows."
" I am so glad, so thankful that you have
had courage to tell me."
" Is it courage ? I thought it was selfish-
ness. Yes ; I shall write at once, and he
will soon be free. It is all I can do for him.
There is one favour I must ask of you ;
don't tell any one, and by-and-by I will name
it as a matter of course to Aunt Ormrod."
"It will soon be known after that," Miss
" Yes, she will be very glad," said Molly,
and then she got up and threw her arms
around her friend's neck, and gave her a
" He did care for me once," she said.
" In his way, yes," said Miss Gliddon.
But although before this Molly had had
bitter misgivings, their bitterness dwindled
before the conviction confronting her now.
There had been a straw of hope in her own
mind, scarcely acknowledged but certainly
dominant ; this vanished when the reasoning
of another coincided with her own, and
clearly left naked facts from which there was
nothing to hope. They mocked her at every
turn during the next few days, when, in spite
of resolution, resolution failed, and she hov-
ered round the one straight course of action
with increasing dread of the final grapple
that must come sooner or later. It was not
like her thus to hesitate, but she feared the
mere act of putting pen to paper, lest her
letter should be too cold, and lead him to
think she had changed ; or too unhappy, and
VOL. It. 13
t 9 4 JULIET.
make him rue his sin and seek to condone it
by some more fatal compromise. If she
could have seen him and spoken, it would
have been easier ; she could have watched
the effect of her own words, and judged at
once if she had wronged him or were inflict-
ing pain. But this was impossible ; the dis-
tance between them was to her as the Anti-
podes, and her ignorance of what events
were daily occurring to and round him, to
corroborate her suspicions, wrung her heart
and rasped her nerves. His notes lately —
letters they were not to be called — had con-
veyed volumes by their very scantiness ; their
careless haste had tortured her ; she had
looked out with meek pain upon the snow-
fleeced hills lying beneath the cold glitter of
the moon and twinkling stars, and contrast-
ing these with Italy, leafless but verdant and
smiling, had fitted the two pictures into their
two lives, and shivered at the cold to which
she was consigned, while he sunned himself
each hour. She felt herself to be deserted,
and her imagination constantly busied itself
with two forms which, in fact, she did not
know, but whom she characteristically per-
sonified as of the noblest, losing herself in
mazes of speculation as to the influence
of each, upon him who in word but not in
deed belonged to her. Her claim upon him
taunted her. Her power to compel him to
honour and justice jeered at her. It was all
a mere vain show ; a dry husk, empty and
brittle, which one stroke would crush to dust.
No satisfaction, no atonement, was to be
gained by dealing that stroke ; but hers was
the hand that must deal it, she must seal her
At last, therefore, she wrote and set him
When that letter reached him he had
just returned to his rooms from a walk with
Evelyn Dalyrymple and her brother, who
was home from India on sick leave. He
i 9 6 JULIET.
had gone out to the Corso, as he often did
in the afternoon, for the sake of falling in
with the Dalyrymples' carriage, in which
Mrs. Dalyrymple, as an invalid, took a daily
leisurely airing ; and as usual his plan had
been successful. Evelyn had quickly dis-
covered him in the crowd, the carriage had
stopped, and after a chat of conventional
length, there still remained so much to say,
that he had proposed a walk in which to
finish it. Evelyn had jumped at the proposal,
but her brother as decidedly held back ; he
did not like Ormrod, and had labelled him as
untrustworthy from the first hour in which
he noted his attentions to his sister. More-
over, though a rising man of undoubted
genius, there sometimes cropped out caddish
traits which he did not see how a ''fas-
tidious ' girl could overlook. This " lasti-
dious ' girl, however, unhappily for herself,
could twist her brother round her finger
without the least exertion oi will or feminine!
humours. He was devoted to her, but fell
short of the highest devotion, by permitting
what he thought good for her to give way to
what she thought good for herself. Thus,
when she declared she would walk with
Ormrod, all he could do was to walk with
them, an arrangement to which neither
thought it worth w r hile to object, since
they knew their conversations on Art bored
him extremely, and shut his eyes to any
actual danger in their intercourse, to that
extent, that he would presently loiter, fall
behind, and lose sight of them. Then they
talked of something that was not Art.
Ormrod was not in love with her. He
would have laughed at the bare idea. A
flirt is rarely attracted by a flirt, the earnest
woman attracts the volatile man : the jilt has
a fascination for the wary, yes, even for the
wariest, who may have been in the habit,
during twenty years of dancing, piously of
thanking heaven each * time he reached
home uncaught by woman's wiles. Evelyn
amused him, that was all. She was his first
experience of a " fast " girl, who would dare
and do anything outrageous in the pursuit
of her pleasure — a pleasure which depended
wholly upon the society of men and her
capacity for carrying them along with her in
a current of unwholesome excitement. He
had been astounded by some things she had
done, but though his preconceived ideas of
womanhood daily received overwhelming
blows when in contact with her, he quickly
found he could not be scandalized. On the
contrary, he began to admire her reckless
defiance of conventionality and propriety,
wondering that it should Sfive her a charm to
which she had no claim by looks. She was
undeniably plain-featured, her hair was dull
red, her complexion muddy, her figure o\
medium height ; and yet at a party, no girl
knew so well how to gather the men round
her and to keep them there. Then she
would become flushed, and look well enough
to please the most fastidious, but at this
happy point would be summarily carried off
home by some careful relative, for excitement
was dangerous to her, and bidden to be
avoided by the first physicians in Rome.
Altogether, she was an admirable pastime,
but had no influence over Ormrod beyond
what novelty and the fostering of conceit
must give. He liked to be with her, and to
be singled out by her, but — in Spring Juliet
was coming. Adieu then to these pecca-
The mischief of it was, however, that to
her this was no peccadillo. For once and at
last she was not flirting. She had begun by
doing so, of course, because she could not
have begun in any other way, and had
adroitly traded upon her intellectual sym-
pathy with the treasures of antiquity amid
which they each day met. When he found
how barefacedly she was flirting, he at first
felt repugnance, on the principle of a man-
flirt always being the first to throw a stone
at a woman-flirt ; but gradually, social reasons
absorbed this. He found that familiar
friendship with her family would ensure
nim attention from the very circle into
which he most desired an entrde ; and she
found that this man — who had flashed into
that circle like a meteor, with the instan-
taneous command over his fellows and public
opinion, which is one of the richest gifts of
a genius that cares to assert itself — was on
the highroad to an influence and fame, such
as she would love to grace. Quickly upon this
came the knowledge that it was not his genius
that she admired, so much as himself, and
such knowledge does not content itself with
admiration. It did not in her case, and she
thought she had no more to do to win him.
than to encourage him. With instinctive
quickness of observation, she now deserted
her intellectual tactics for another more
dangerous, because more personal, and
appealed to his best and most chivalrous side
by her delicacy of constitution.
Few men are proof against the fact of
a woman needing a care which they can
supply ; when a woman turns to them for
support and protection, they must respond.
At this crisis the touch of a finger, the contact
of a dress, becomes dangerous — how much
more the appealing glance which signifies
weariness or a draught, the voice checked by
a cough, or the involuntary shiver and shrug.
Evelyn was mistress of all these subterfuges,
they often came unbidden, and made her
impatient and angry, and when in good
health she revenged herself by feigning
them at convenience. They impressed Orm-
rod the more in contrast to her wild spirits.
Gradually he acquired a new phase of ten-
derness that became him well, quickly proving
himself efficient in the arrangement of furs
and fleecy shawls, and learning to anticipate
her slightest wish, and to claim rewards
which she was only too ready to bestow. It
was easy for her to believe that he wished
eventually to marry her, an idea which he
knew he daily fostered. Thus he was still
engaged to Molly, was faithfully attached to
Juliet, and was encouraging the advances of
another woman, whose interest he some day
intended to claim in his engagement to Juliet,
as though unconscious of her interest in him-
It was at this time that Molly's letter
threw a new light on his proceedings.
After all, and in spite of her earnest
endeavour to the contrary, this letter had a
ring of heartbreak. She did not yet know
his utter worthlessness, and had not con-
trasted it with the sterling worth of that
other to whom she was destined to devote
her best love and years, and although she
saw no other course was open to her than
that she took, she could not follow it with
cold dignity or yet with cutting reproach.
Yet the undertone of pathos and regret could
not but touch even him. And it made him
This again was a new sensation, and gave
him a decided check.
He was not a wicked man, but he was
weak, and wickedness has more courage than
weakness. He now saw for the first time
that he might not only be getting others into
trouble, but himself, for he would be con-
demned at Moorhead, and if at Moorhead
in one case, why not at Rome in another ?
This reflection made his blood run cold, and
at the same time flattered his conceit. Evi-
dently Molly had not as yet felt his charm to
be superseded by Brunskill's, and Evelyn
Dalyrymple was each day acquiring a more
conscious shyness. As he stood, irresolutely
turning from page to page of the letter, lack-
ing the decision to accept even the decision
of another, and strike into a path of strict
2o 4 JULIET.
integrity before Juliet's arrival should make
a virtue of necessity, this irritation of inde-
cision went so far as to generate pique. He
had not intended that Molly should take
matters into her own hands and deliberately
4 throw him over." This was an advantage
gained by her which self-love forbad him to
appreciate. Neither did he wish to forfeit
the good opinion of the Wherndale folk, to
which she had formed a convenient vehicle
as well for their interest as their astonish-
ment, for he had almost ceased to write to
Mrs. Ormrod since his arrival in Rome, cal-
culating that her ignorance would prevent
appreciation of the exceptional advantages of
his position, which Molly, in her pride and
pleasure, would be most likely to blazon
abroad. Here, however, he miscalculated,
for what his letters lacked made more im-
pression upon her than what they fulfilled,
and every item was treasured for painful
analysis in her own heart.
11 By Jove ! ' he thought now, as he gave
a vicious screw to his easel, " I must put on
the brake somewhere, if I don't mean to have
a flare-up. Molly's a simple maiden for
whom a sop will do, if only she'll throw
that ring into the Whern ; but Evelyn here,
backed up by a heavy brigade of relations
and social position, and a lot of men whom
she's refused and cut dead, would be capable
of making a row, unless she collapsed and
broke a blood-vessel, which Heaven forbid ! '
Here he broke into a soft whistle of per-
plexity, backing from his work, and critically
surveying its effect.
" By Jove ! " he exclaimed in a moment of
sudden inspiration, " She's a flirt, and she
must understand I am, too , that's what it
amounts to ; yes, by Jove ! "
When Doctor Thorns, from his coign of
vantage, watched Juliet cross the church-
yard, and meet a man whom he took to be
a perfect stranger to himself, with the easy
assurance which only old acquaintance can
give, he was victimized by a maddening pang
of jealousy. He could not bear to think
that she was on terms of intimacy with sonic
one he did not know. No suspicion of the
truth entered his mind, even when he saw
them cross from the graves of the Mom-
pessons to those of the Gilberts ; and hail
he been able to catch a fair view of Brims-
kill's face— which he did his utmost to do —
it was not probable that he would have
recognized him ; for they had not met for
many years, and his thoughts were bent
on Juliet, and on contingencies as remote as
possible from the facts of the case. He
knew his jealousy in the matter of a stranger
was absurd — a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing tan-
talizingly athwart his mental darkness over
Ormrod ; but none the less did it jostle and
annoy him at every turn, and all the more
because he could not challenge it now, as he
would have done naturally a few months
previously. Their intercourse seemed to be
carried on on either side of a down-dropped
curtain, which he at least could not penetrate.
Instead of having gained influence over her,
he felt that he had lost it ; and beine a man
of resolution and strong purpose, this was
so galling, that his will and wish could not
but fix themselves the more fiercely upon
the one desired object. He did not only
love Juliet now better than himself, but in
his own mind he swore to win her. He was
close to her. No opportunity of riveting a
new influence over her should be allowed to
When next he went up to the Hall, he
found Mrs. Mompesson alone. The Christ-
mas party had dispersed, only Isabel being-
left ; and as the frost still continued, and
precluded hunting, Mompesson and she had
joined a skating-party at the Tattons'.
" They will be out of the school-room
directly," said Mrs. Mompesson, as she effu-
sively held out both hands.
" I am come to see you," he said, un-
She shook her head archly, holding up a
" For Heaven's sake, don't perjure your-
self, Doctor ! Lejeu tie van t pas la chandelle,
since I can do without such (lattery."
She was supporting her elbows on the
arms of her carved ebony chair, had clasped
her hands, and was looking at him above
them. She made a handsome picture, in her
dress of silk brocade, her shoulders covered
by a filmy white shawl, a soft cap, with
strings tied at one side, pressing the snowy
puffs of hair close to her temples ; her mit-
tened hands showing a quick flash of dia-
monds as they moved. Her unwrinkled face
bore no hint of the unextinguished pain
of fatal passion ; the mouth was mobile and
arch, and rarely now imperious, unless in
moments of stern thought ; the eyes still
bright and piercing, from beneath deep
brows, whose shadow gave them depth of
expression ; and the whole of her had an air
of clear-cut aristocracy, such as is only to be
found in a grande dame. Face and figure
and style of dress formed a typical picture
of the lovely dignity of old age ; and she
knew it, and was never averse to being
looked at. Those who best realized this
VOL. II. 14
human weakness for admiration could also
realize its value in her case ; for, in times of
strongest mental excitement and distorting
agitation of remorse, and suspense, and crav-
ing for knowledge of past events, the con-
sciousness of attention to her extraordinary
handsomeness would soothe her better than
any medicinal sedative, and restore her to the
serenity of a reasonable being, ruled by a
regard for appearances, even in the midst
of irritating nervous hvsteria.
" There will soon be a new reiom at
Coombe, now," she said, when the Doctor
was seated opposite to her, with a big screen
of peacocks' feathers between himself and
" It is a law of creation that everything
should in turn be supplanted : where there
is life there must be succession. The ripe
fruit must not grumble because it tails to
make way for the pushing bud," he said,
DISCO VE1UES. 2 1 1
" I don't want a sermon out of church,"
she rejoined, shrugging her shoulders. " I
am not grumbling ; it is all natural enough.
I suppose you will be the first to shout ' Le
roi est mort. Vive le roi ! ' They will be a
" So-so/' he said.
" You have every right to be critical,
" No; that is precisely what I have not,
being no Adonis myself; but, when I marry
those two, madam, I shall unite a deal of
frank goodness to a deal of surly goodness,
and each will be the better for the fusion."
" And when do you mean to undergo a
like fusion ? "
" When my fate wills."
" Only the other day, Oliver was saying,
what a pity it was that you were such a
" Quin shall come to my wedding," said
the Doctor, shortly, and then he got up and
2 1 2 JULIET.
took his departure, greatly to Mrs. Mom-
pesson's disgust and disappointment.
" Have you and the Doctor been quarrel-
ling ? ' she asked, when Juliet came in soon
" Certainly not. I give him no chance
of quarrelling with me."
- . " You are a wise woman," said Mrs. Mom-
"It is not premeditated wisdom," said
" Therefore, 1 suppose, you don't see the
wisdom. If you were to quarrel with him,
you would have to make it up, he would
make you, my dear, and under such circum-
stances, you would find that he was a
dangerous man. He has a prodigious
Juliet was standing in the middle of the
room, and gradually, as Mrs. Mompesson
spoke, her air o( cool attention changed to
intelligent embarrassment. She realized her
full meaning, and felt that the inference was
just. For the first time, it occurred to her
that he was a man who could mould a
woman, by absorbing for a certain time, and
under certain conditions, her personality in
his own ; and as she still stood — lost in
startled reflection, it was natural that she
should endeavour to calculate the amount of
influence which he had already gained over
herself. Mrs. Mompesson, watching her
archly, thought she had never seen her so
disconcerted. It is always a trying moment
to a high-spirited and high-souled woman
when she feels her independence curbed by
a more masterful hand than her own, and that
hand a man's, which intends never to relax
its magnetic touch.
" Spirits are not finely touched
But to fine issues : nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But like a thrifty goddess she determines,
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use."
2 14 JULIET.
On the whole, it was a startling discovery,
and the more so, because when she resolved
to be very careful, she felt as though she
were removed from the bounds of self-solici-
tude ; and yet the closest examination could
determine no clue of influence or penetrate
on her part either that down-dropped curtain.
She failed to see that the perplexity and the
danger lay in the shadow of constraint and
misunderstanding, of which each was so fully
conscious, that that very consciousness held
the germ of new and abiding susceptibili-
Shortly after this the frost broke up, and
with its departure came a rush to the stables
and an exchange of skates for spurs. There
was nothing Juliet enjoyed more, than a ride
to cover, and a stiff gallop across country ;
and as Lily, too, was a daring horsewoman, the
schoolroom was often neglected for the hunt-
ing-field in this her last season at Coombe.
One day they were riding leisurely home
DISCO VERIES. 2 1
from a tantalizing run, in which three foxes
had been started, and none run to earth,
when on entering- the Park, Juliet perceived
Dr. Thorns walking to and fro under a row
of limes that stood apart from the road and
ended in a glade thickly strewn now with
crisp leaves. So soon as he saw them he
held up his hand and beckoned, at the same
time coming towards them as fast as possible.
When he reached them, Juliet saw in a
moment that he was agitated almost beyond
circumspect self-control. He seemed to be
suddenly affected with involuntary muscular
twitchings ; she had an uncomfortable feel-
ing that he would either succumb to tears or
burst into a fit of uproarious laughter ; he
could scarcely control his lips for speaking,
and when at last his voice came, it was harsh,
guttural, and choked. He nodded to Lily,
throwing a glance at her that was in-
explicable to herself, but whose mingling
of compassion, impatience, and trepidation
struck Juliet into sudden comprehension.
Yet how could he possibly have discovered
anything with regard to Brunskill, unless he
had himself divulged his identity ? No time,
however, was given her for speculation.
After that nod to Lily and a gesture to her-
self, that signified vexation at the girl's pre-
sence, he spoke rapidly in Italian, which
language had not entered into Lily's educa-
" Send her away on some pretence or
other," was what he said, averting his eyes
from her inquiring gaze.
It only needed a nod to make her canter
away. They watched her some little dis-
tance ; then it occurred to Juliet she would
rather be without her own horse, and she
followed and left it with the <iroom. Gather-
ing her skirts over her arm she walked back
to meet the Doctor.
When she reached him he laid his
hand on her arm and stood looking at
DISCO VERIES. 2 1 7
her a moment before he could find his
" I am a fool," he said, " but not the only
one in this wide world, thank heaven !
Where are those other two, the spooney
fools — anywhere in this direction ? ' waving
his hand towards the Made.
" No," said Juliet ; " they are following us
" Then let us £o down there — it will be
quiet. I have been waiting here for you an
hour or two, expecting you to emerge from
the schoolroom. I began to think you must
be cramming a weeks work into that girl's
head in a day."
" Why did you not go up to the Hall and
ask for me ? "
" I couldn't have done that, because I
couldn't safely have run foul of Madam this
morning with the load I have on my mind.
Then what I want to say will take something-
more than five minutes, and if you and I had
been closeted together for an hour or two,
the least the expectant household could have
looked for would have been swollen eyes or
a ring. I have not quite lost my senses,
" What is the load ? " Juliet asked, switch-
ing a limp fern with her whip.
" It is a shame to burden you."
" You have heard something: of Richard
Mompesson ? "
" Not a word."
;< But you have got a clue ? '
11 Not that I know of."
"Then you think you have ?" she said,
calmly, determined to stand this irritating
" Think ! ' he echoed, laughing ironically.
" Yes, that is precisely what it amounts to.
You are so practical, Calypso, that you re-
duce my deductions to mere chimeras, and
make me ashamed to speak of them. Indeed,
why should I ? What has induced me to
DISCO VERIES. 2 1 9
spend my time waiting for a woman in whom
to confide ? I must be losing my capacity
for acting, my confidence in my own judg-
ment. Assuredly you make me believe this
when you come down upon me with your
plain questions, and bring the matter to a
point more diminutive than a pin's head — a
point that has nevertheless made me feel
like a madman. I must be nearing my
''Perhaps, since you can think at all about
yourself at such a crisis."
" Ah ! but is it a crisis ? "
" I have no doubt that it is."
He laughed again. These laughs would
have been intolerable to her, but that
she knew they were vents for excited
feeling that must otherwise betray itself
in an emotion against which his pride re-
" You speak with the assurance of ignor-
ance," he said.
" It is not willing ignorance, so is no dis-
" Of course not ; no woman is willingly
ignorant. That is quite a superfluous
He was very rude, but she liked him the
better for it. It was a lono; time since he
had spoken to her in this way, and it gave her
an exhilarating sense of familiarity ; for she
had no suspicion how fully he was master of
himself, and employing an unexpected inci-
dent to carry her with him on a current of
strong feeling and stronger mutual interest.
11 Tell me," she said, persuasively.
' If I knew you would stay here until I
did, I would not vet," he said, looking full at
her, and laughing in sheer nervousness at his
own audacity. It was a lover's speech — spon-
taneous, significant, and struck both of them
in its widest sense.
" Did I ever tell you how — years ago —
I went once into Devonshire for a holiday ?
DISCO VERIES. 2 2 1
he said presently; "and while there, in a
remote corner of Exmoor, I came upon a
churchyard, and in it a small white cross,
marked with the initials ' C. M.' ? Those
initials were very familiar to me ; they were
Madam's and Mrs. Quin's. I got it into my
head that this was a third Caroline Mom-
pesson, and I looked up the registers and
found the births of two children of Richard's
— a boy and a girl. I made every inquiry,
saw the house they had occupied, heard they
had been quiet people, devoted to each other
and their children, and that the father had
felt his little daughter's death exceedingly.
Immediately after that event they had left
the village ; and do what I would, not a clue
was now to be found as to their whereabouts.
All I could do was to charge the vicar and the
sexton to let me know if ever any one came to
refer to those entries in the registers, or to
visit that little grave. Then I came home,
and had nearly forgotten the incident, when
this morning, I had a letter to tell me that
some weeks ago a man came to examine
those entries and see that grave. The sex-
ton saw him, but could not write, so, as the
vicar was away, he kept his own counsel and
awaited his return. It is the vicar who has
written to me."
" And what will you do ? " Juliet asked.
" Do ! " cried the Doctor. ; ' What do you
think I shall do but go and hunt out this
fellow ? / will find him."
" You may not."
" Don't talk of it— I feel that I shall," he
cried, with a sparkle in his eyes, a dilation
of his nostril, and straightening of his spare
figure, that proved him truly young in mind,
and will, and purpose.
Juliet was silent for a few moments, dur-
ing which, they left the park and entering the
Rectory garden, betook themselves mechani-
cally to the walk behind the rcse-hedge
separating it from the churchyard. Her
own words to Brunskill had recurred to her,
and proved themselves just — Fate was inter-
posing, the responsibility of secresy was no
longer to rest entirely upon himself. No
doubt existed in her own mind, as to how
she must act.
"Doctor," she said at last, "suppose you
were to trace him from here ? "
" From or to — not unlikely."
Another pause on Juliet's part. Now that
the time for revelation, and supplying the
missing link, was come, she felt strangely
" Do you remember my leaving you here
one day, just after the new year, and joining
a man in the churchyard ? "
" Remember his back, yes ! " said the
Doctor. " Even it made me. jealous."
"What if he were Richard Mompesson's
" But you knew him ; you know him by
name, don't you ? '
" By two names — he has called himself
Gilbert Brunskill ; he is Gilbert Mompesson."
" How do vou know this c^reat tiling ? '
he demanded, standing still and holding her
with a solemn gaze, that pierced her to her
" From his own lips. He could not deny
11 Then you have been right."
"Yes," she said, with a smile, that pierced
him in his turn, and sent him down to the
end of the path, and back again, before he
dared lift his eyes to hers. His fiery
nature was heated, and yet subdued, by his
boundless admiration of her ; he did not
know whether he most admired the sense of
her penetration, or of her silence, for he
understood intuitively, that she would not
have spoken now, but for the law of God
that the hour brings the man.
" O rare Juliet!' he exclaimed, standing
before her with kindling approval in the very
tension imposed upon him by self-control.
But for this approval, however, he was not
so much excited as she had expected, in fact,
certainty seemed to curb his excitement.
She had simply to tell him all she knew.
Brunskill's sudden change of plans, after
leaving Coombe, had led to his own convic-
tion, and she had an instinctive feeling that
he would not be sorry at the unexpected turn
" Well," said the Doctor, " it is a strange
matter, there is no saying where this tide of
publicity, that has set in, will stop. Bruns-
kill was, you say, resolved that no one should
know, and behold, what we call chance, inter-
posed by you. Then another little wheel is
set a-going, through a half-superannuated
sexton, hundreds of miles away — again you
supply the missing link. Now, I must write
to this village schoolmaster, and know his
will under these new circumstances. He
will be dismayed when he realizes how truth
will dribble out, in spite of a mountain of
fiction piled atop. I think he's a madman."
" Did you think so when you knew him
years ago ? "
" I never thought about him. I took him
as I found him."
" He is a splendid man," said Juliet.
" Physical development is all very
" I was not meaning physical develop-
ment. He is good."
" I think I will £0 over to Moorhead."
" The Gliddons would wonder what had
" Old comradeship, to be sure. It seems
to me that this is a case for outright speech
and proofs down, or for eternal silence and
destruction of proofs. The responsibility is
partly now yours and mine too, Calypso.
What would Madam say, and the Quins, it
this marriage came off in total ignorance ot
such facts as we possess, and afterwards it
were discovered that they existed, and we
had known ? What have you and I to do
with State secrets ? Confound it all, I wish I
did not know ! "
"He will not allow you to tell."
"- I shall be satisfied if he will allow me to
persuade him to do so. And all this within
three months of the wedding ! Would she
marrv him ? "
" Yes, and with a lighter heart — his mis-
fortune would be his fortune. But Brunskill
will never take Coombe."
11 Never take Coombe ! My dear Ca-
lypso ! "
" I told you he was splendid."
" Evidently he is an unpractical sentimen-
talist too. You have been sentimentalizing
together. He has posed, and you have fallen
down and worshipped with the most childish
naivete'. Ah ! it is rood. We shall see how
quickly he will yield to the pressure I shall
bring to bear on him.- No, no, a fillip of
plebeian blood is all very well, but it won't
generate anything so Utopian as this."
He would have written to Brunskill that
day, but that it was past post-time, and he
was engaged to dine at the Tattons'. After
dinner he and Juliet had another talk on the
matter, withdrawing into the conservatory,
to the great relief of Miss Tat ton, to whom
Juliet was unconsciously an object of detes-
tation, through Sir Marmaduke's admiration
of her. He certainly could not take her in
to dinner, but he could admire her very
decidedly, and did, partly to aggravate his
daughter, whose lack of sense and tact was
notorious, and partly because the advanta-
geous contrast presented by so self-controlled
and comprehending a woman, really made
him lone to have such a one at the head of
his domestic affairs. He never missed an
opportunity of talking to her. She made an
excellent listener, standing before him with
intent eyes while he emphasized his archaeo-
logy with two fingers pressed on the palm of
the other hand, and bringing in an intelligent
opinion just at the right moment. He thought
her interest was devoted. How could he
know that in the privacy of her own mind,
she was dubbing- the Saxon tiles he was at
such pains to show her, rub-stones ; and was
otherwise preoccupied and careless of his
attentions, escaping them as soon as possible,
and looking round with sudden sagacity of
observation for Doctor Thorns. Miss Tatton
was watching her with flaming eyes.
" I hate that girl ! " she said, distinctly, to
a gentleman to whom she was passing a cup
of tea, and who was a half-cousin of hers.
" Ah ! " said he, intelligently. The mono-
syllable did not express want of interest but
trepidation. Juliet was only a few paces off,
and he was fearful of her overhearing. The
next moment he saw that she had overheard,
for she turned slowly and looked at them.
It was a look of perfect indifference, yet
2 so JULIET.
of full comprehension. Her expression did
not even acquire a tinge of sarcasm ; but its
tranquillity was overwhelming and fascinat-
ing. Lai Tatton's companion at once put
down his cup and went up to her. She was
standing in the light of a lamp, in a soft silken
dress, whose crimson sheen set off the dusky
paleness of her face, It was a plain dress,
however, magnificent only in its colour, but
the elbow-sleeves left visible her beautifullv-
modelled arms, and against her neck lay
some red azaleas.
There was a golden screen behind her,
and in one hand she held a golden fan. It
was impossible not to feel that she was in
perfect harmony with her surroundings, and
Mr. Dalyrymple, now standing before her,
wondered enthusiastically " who the deuce
He had bowed, and asked if he could get
her a cup of tea.
" Thank you, no," she said ; " I am look-
ing for a friend, a clergyman, very slightly
" Ah ! with a fine-cut face and piercing
eyes — a noticeable man in a country place.
He left the table early."
" Yes, with Sir Marmaduke, but I missed
"He was talking to Lady Berners, my
cousin, but she is not a very clever woman,
and I felt they would not hit it off. I fancy
he is the sort of man to sit in a corner and
be sarcastic, if there is no one with whom he
hits it off."
They were moving through the rooms
now, Juliet slowly fanning herself, her com-
panion looking at her as often and pointedly
as politeness would allow. It was not only
that he admired her, but that he was certain
he had seen her before, somewhere.
" I shall tell him that," she said. " It is
too true not to be repeated."
" Then you and he do hit it off? '
" Yes," she said, glancing at him quickly.
At the door of the conservatory they
stopped and looked in. It was banked with
flowers, heavy scented, but colourless in the
garish light of Chinese lanterns. Apparently
it was empty, but as they stood, there was a
slight sound, unintelligible to the uninitiated,
but which made Juliet smile and withdraw
her hand from her companion's arm.
" Thank you," she said, " he is here. That
was his stick. He can do without it,
but he favours it, I fear, as individualiz-
She did not look at him as she spoke,
but it was easy to see that her face was
transfigured, her eyes limpid and warm ; she
was impatient now rather than tranquil.
Since it was not Sir Marmaduke in the
conservatory, he felt that Miss Tatton need
not hate her ; and he wandered back to his
tea, disposed to cavil at every other woman
44 So you have left the Syren ?" said Miss
14 Only because she found a better man
44 There are not many such here,
44 No. I can credit her with choosing the
one exception," he said, waiving her obvious
44 Oh, one exception ; I did not mean any-
thing so narrow, there is my father."
14 Exactly so."
Miss Tatton stared at him in unfeigned
44 Do you mean that she is with him
44 1 think Sir Marmaduke shows his good
44 And she hers," said the girl angrily.
He thought she was going to stamp her
foot, and, not wishing for a scene, tacked
. " Sir Marmaduke is talking to Eleanor,"
he said. " Don't be afraid of the other lady,
she's inoffensive, totally impervious to a
grey-haired widower. Neither is she the sort
of woman to want a man who appreciates
her indifference ; there is something more in
her than coquetry. Who is the cleric with
the limp ? '
" Doctor Thorns. Oh, she's welcome to
him. She's a governess, you know, and he's
just a clergyman with a good private for-
tune," was the answer, with a shrug of relief
" With more than that, I fancy, judging
from his face. I hope they'll come in to-
gether presently ; one does not often see two
such faces in rural England."
" You are as spiteful as a woman."
" Not as the most spiteful woman," he
said, with a meaning smile, and, by way of
adding insult to injury, he patted her arm as
she passed him. Then he went and found
Lady Berners, and extracted from her all she
knew of Juliet. She was an unprejudiced
married woman, with an establishment of her
own, while Lai Tatton's eyes and limited
judgment were jaundiced by vulgar fears of
a step-mother — fears that were groundless in
this case, as Dalyrymple's well-balanced in-
tuitions had soon told him.
" I should like to be introduced to them,"
" To her, I suppose you mean," said Lady
" No, to both," he said, sturdily. " Cka-
cun, selon hit, you know ; and I'm not going
to enter the lists, and shake his peace of
mind just to make a fool of myself. Intro-
duce me, will you, Nell ? '
Later on in the evening the desired
opportunity occurred, for they happened to
be again together when Juliet left the piano
after singing, and, as the Doctor placed a
chair for her, Lady Berners swooped down
2 $6 JULIET.
upon them and begged to introduce her
11 Mr. Dalyrymple, home from India on
sick leave, and just come on from Rome,"
she said, with a wave of her fan.
Doctor Thorns had heard nothing of the
Dalyrymples, except in the most casual
manner, since his visit to Italy with Juliet
years ago, and the name had no immediate
association in his mind. But it instantly
flashed upon Juliet that this was Evelyn's
brother, and involuntarily she turned sharply
and looked at him, her eyes suddenly dis-
tressed and distrustful. He did not at once
notice this change of expression.
" I have met your friends," Doctor Thorns
was saying. " Miss Laybourne and I met
them once in Rome. I hope your health is
11 Quite ; the voyage did that. Then you
know my people ? ' he asked, turning to
" Yes ; your brothers, and Thirza, and
Evelyn. How is Evelyn ?"
" As outrageous a flirt as ever, and with
less physical capacity for the excitement.
She is a strange girl — will only be quiet, I
fear, when the grave closes over her, and yet
is, in human judgment, as unsuitable as pos-
sible for early death."
" It is well to say ' in human judgment',
Juliet said, gently.
"You are right. Did you see much of
her — sufficient to gain any influence ? '
" We were friendly, as girls of the same
age will be ; but I don't know that any influ-
ence of mine was of value. Is she still fond
" Very, especially when it brings her into
conjunction with clever young artists. Miss
Laybourne, I have remembered how it is
that your face is familiar to me. I saw it on
canvas in a studio over there. It is full of
studios, you know."
" There certainly are a great many," said
Juliet, smiling. " But I did not know that
my face had struck you as familiar."
" Of course you did not. However, I
certainly saw it ; not as a portrait, but fitted
to a wild thing full of unwholesome mists
suggestive of malaria."
" I hope the face was not unwholesome."
" Indeed it was not, which seemed to my
ignorance inconsistent, since it was fully ex-
plained to me that the mystic lady brought
disease and death in her train."
" By the artist himself ? "
"Yes. I suppose you know him well,
since you sat to him."
" I did not sit to him," said Juliet.
He looked incredulous, and she, catch-
ing that look, flushed painfully, plying her
fan in sudden nervous agitation such as
he instinctively felt to be unusual with
11 He has had a good memory,'' he said.
Juliet was silent. She would say nothing
in confirmation of the insinuation, and could
not contradict anything so obviously true ;
but her expression was eloquent at once of
pain and pleasure ; and he, certain still that
she w r as no coquette, though a woman to be
generally admired, was puzzled. This was
not the way in which to greet views of a man
to whom she was indifferent, and yet he had
attributed her interest to another. His sur-
prise increased when, after this, she became
preoccupied, and looked at him as he
addressed her with eyes suddenly haunted
and haggard with anxiety — vacant, too, as
though they did not see him.
11 After all," he thought, " she is not a
happy woman, and that fellow over yonder
has something to answer for. He won't
forget a sphinx like this, so Eve may have
found her match at last."
Presently he went with Juliet to the
2 4 o JULIET.
" I am returning to Rome," he said, as
they waited a moment in the vestibule.
" Give my love to Evelyn," she said,
He bowed, but looked as though he
expected more than that. As, however, she
remained apparently unconscious of any such
expectation, he ventured forth on to the deli-
" Mr. Ormrod is painting for the London
Exhibitions, and means to come over with
his work, as perhaps you know," he said.
Juliet was fastening her cloak and kept
her head turned aside from him, but a glance
told him that the blood had rushed to her
face and that her eyes were sparkling.
" I did not know," she said, " thank you
for the information. Then I shall see
" Cyoeraeth," and its unwholesomeness for
She shook hands with him and smiled.
But he could make nothing o\ that smile,
it was inscrutable. She meant it to be, not
knowing herself whether she were most
happy or miserable, and succeeding at least
in parrying his conviction on either score.
He, however, was left feeling somewhat
dazzled. There had been a brilliancy about
her such as he was unaccustomed to with
languid Anglo-Indians, and he had met no
one like her even in the crowded reunions
of Rome. He went out into the moonlit
gardens and lit a cigar, recalling her singing,
her crimson dress against the golden screen,
her fine figure and slow swimming walk.
She must know herself to be beautiful, and
yet she courted no admiration nor coquetted
with what was spontaneously given. It
seemed to him that she was far too fine a
woman for a country Rectory, even though
the Rector were of a noticeable type and con-
trasted well in his ardently nervous physique
with her supremely tranquil yet intelligent
air of interested observation. As for Orm-
vol. u. 16
rod, he pooh-poohed the mere notion of his
being able to satisfy her, thinking more
solicitously than he cared to own, that he
would do best for a giddy pate like Evelyn,
for he was shrewdly suspicious that Evelyn's
last flirtation was merging into deadly
earnest, and feared the effect of unrequital
upon so self-willed and excitable a tempera-
ment. The temptation was strong upon
him to see more of Juliet, to ride over to
Coombe during the few remaining days of
his visit, and challenge her further acquaint-
ance. But honest British sense deterred
him. He might only sacrifice his own peace
of mind to no purpose, since she and the
Rector assuredly "hit it off" in some fashion
mutually intelligible, and she knew the name
of Or m rod's Academy picture, which was
more than he did, although he had seen the
almost finished canvas. This last reflection
" I'll tell him I've seen the original, and
DISCO VERIES. 243
watch how he looks," he thought, knocking
out personal sentiment with the final ashes
of his cigar, just as Lai opened one of the
drawing-room windows and called him in,
with a sharp reminder that the house pos-
sessed a smoking-room. Lai knew well that
he had seen Juliet to the carriage, and that he
should have chosen afterwards to remain in
the garden where moonlight softly reigned,
seemed to her the height of absurdity
and nonsensical affectation. He went in
obediently, and she was somewhat mollified.
As he had already smoked, he might join
her for a chat over the fire. She quickly
refastened the window and went up to the
rug where he stood. He looked benignly
down at her as she approached, and her
11 Go and stand against that screen," will
you, Lai," he said.
She innocently assented, and posed her-
" Oh, come away," he said, after a
moment; "comparisons are odious. Why
do you swathe yourself in brown mummy
cloths ; they take all the burnish from the
< v rold ? Crimson, now "
" You are detestable," she said, and he
had the erace to feel she was not far wronqr
" WHERE, WHY, WHEN ?
"Juliet, did you miss me much when I was
away from here ? '
" Very much."
" Were you glad to have me back ?'
" Very glad."
* "You never said so."
" I was, however, in my heart. Things
seemed natural again."
The practical reason, practically given,
stunned him for a moment, but he instantly
rallied. He had a great deal to say.
" I am going away again, Juliet."
She turned quickly, in speechless sur-
prise, his tone struck her even more than his
"Where are vou £oin£ ? " s ^ e as k ec i
" That I shall not tell you."
" Then I cannot write to you ? '
" And you can do without my liters ? '
He spoke dispassionately, and with a
slight smile ; evidently appeal would be use-
less. She sat down wholly unnerved, and he
walked into the vestry.
Spring had come, and Easter-tide, and
that morning Juliet and Lily had been to the
Dower-house spinneys for primroses, and the
daffodils that were known to bloom latest in
the pastures, near the stream there. These,
with abundance of moss, they had brought to
the church, to dress it for Easterday, and the
Doctor had joined them, and taken Juliet
off to the chancel, while Lily devoted her
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 247
energies to the font. He had looked, and
talked as usual, and confessed that his rheu-
matism was better than for many a day. In
no way was she prepared for what he had to
say, and when it came out, she was overcome
by sheer helpless amazement.
Opposite to the vestry door was a door
into the churchyard, and this was set wide
open. The sun was pouring in across
the graves, with their bright mosaics of
crocus, hepatica, and aconite, backed by the
ivy of the Rectory garden wall. Juliet, sit-
ting on the chancel steps, and pausing in her
work, looked across these at the Rectory,
whose windows were flung up to give access
to the warm breeze. She heard Silas whet-
ting his scythe ; he was mowing, for the first
time that season, and a machine was inadmis-
sible to the old-fashioned poetic aroma which
it was the Rector's fancy to throw round his
belongings. The pastoral sound came re-
freshingly on the air, that was sweet with the
scent of hyacinths. Juliet knew exactly
where the hyacinths were in that sunny
old garden, the border where they and rib-
bands of crocuses ran riot for the bees ; she
knew how the booming of those bees was
borne into the rooms — the delicious drowsi-
ness it generated when she happened to be
in one of the chintz-covered basket-chairs,
with the blinds half down, and no other sound
to be heard ; and how, although all these were
such simple accessories to the culture of his
home, the master loved them, and courted
them, and was content to spend many an
hour, reaping reflection from their simplicity.
Her own happy hours there had been num-
berless. Now he was going away, and when
he returned she might be none. Was this
the end of them for both, the end of the
calm satisfaction, and absolute delight they
had given her — of his honest happiness, and
yearning anticipation ?
He was so long in the vestry, that at
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 249
last she called him. It seemed almost, from
the silence, as though he were already gone
beyond her reach. But he came at once
when she called, and sat down on the steps
near her. She was busy with daffodils, upon
a background of moss, and he fell to work on
the daffodils, cutting the stalks the requisite
length, and passing them to her, one by one.
Their thoughts were full of the same matter,
but she did not want to be the first to broach
it, and he w r ould not. She was astonished
by his new obstinate reserve.
" Why are you going ? ' she asked, at
" I suppose it is a freak."
" Are freaks always useless and purpose-
" By no means. I don't intend this to
11 And may I not know its purpose ? ' she
said, glancing up.
"It would not interest you. You have
25 o JULIET.
other and more immediate interests at pre-
sent. It is impossible to lavish frank interest
everywhere, and I am tired of anything less.
You must know that this sort of thincf cannot
go on, Juliet. I will tell you what drives me
away — your mind is full of Oliver Ormrod.
He is expected in England, you will meet
him in London, if not here. You are weak,
and you will marry him."
" Is it weakness to marry the man one
loves ? " she asked, defiantly.
" If I were about, you might ask me to
tie the knot."
She looked at him with flashing eyes.
41 You are cruel, you wrong me," she ex-
claimed ; and, starting up, she went half way
down the aisle before he had time to lift a
finger to detain her.
" Juliet, come back," he said, without
She stopped, hesitated, then slowly turned.
His eyes were fixed upon her, and he was
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 251
smiling. She was angry, hurt, indignant ;
but he mesmerized her, and in a moment she
was near him again, looking beautiful in the
Hush and sparkle of resentful compliance.
He folded his arms, perhaps to keep himself
from stretching them towards her, and said,
" Sit down ; you are injuring the
flowers, pushing them with that impatient
When she had sat down, he leaned back
against the reading-desk, so that he could
watch her as they talked.
" Apparently, you don't like plain truths,"
" I like truth."
"Is there any other man you would pre-
fer before me to read the service at your
wedding ? "
" I would never ask you."
" No ? And still I should feel it if I were
near, and were not asked."
" We shall not be married yet ; it is im-
possible, we must wait."
He drew a deep breath. There was
more deliberate arrangement in this, than
even he had looked for, and momentary
silence alone could steady his voice.
11 How long have you been engaged to
him, Juliet?" he asked, and in spite of his
best endeavours there was a quiver of his
" How can it signify to you ? " she said.
" Yes, it is strange that it should, but
there is no limit to human infatuation," he
" We are not eneragfed — not vet — 1 would
not allow it," she said, worked upon in spite
of herself, but still sufficiently controlled to
guard against more than reluctant con-
" What ! " he said ; " not engaged ? But
you have corresponded ? '
" I would not allow that either."
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 25?
" And yet you think he is faithful ? "
" Yes — so far as in him it lies."
The words were wrung" from her against
her will and intention, and he repeated them
after her. Then they were silent again.
She had proved herself stronger than he
thought she was ; but he would not tell her
so, she must know it. He deliberated whe-
ther this were for or against his purpose in
going away, whether she would, after all,
find him necessary to her happiness. For no
other reason was he going, than that the
wrench and loss and blank should prove
matters eternally and unregretfully one way
or another. But on no account would he tell
her this, though she might suspect it if she
liked — for uncertainty might generate pique,
pique torment, and torment give birth to
"Won't you return for Isabel's wedding ? "
"It is a nuisance thatthat is postponed ; but
they err on the side of sense. If they must
go yachting in the Levant, it is better to do
it in September than June. Yes, I shall
turn up for that. I have promised her to
be in readiness. Juliet, if you go to Moor-
head this summer, you can tell Brunskill
I still think him on the wrong tack in
his secresy, and always shall, and that I
wish before Heaven, every morning and
night, that I knew nothing more than
innocent Bel herself. It is nothing but
rank Ouixotism, and I am the victim of a
" I shall not go to Moorhead," she said.
She got up as she spoke, and went
within the altar-rails with her flowers. He
followed, and silently helped her to put them
in their place ; then he went down to Lily to
see how she was getting on. When he
returned, Juliet had gone, but he found her
in the churchyard, and they went into the
Rectorv garden as a matter ol course. Just
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 255
within the gate he stopped to examine some
briars grafted the previous year, and she
stood watching him. He glanced up at her
with another baffling smile.
" You wonder how I can leave them —
my children as they are ? "
" To be a wanderer, too ? But it is best,
of that I am convinced."
" So am I if you are. You know best,"
she said in a low voice.
" Don't forget that, Juliet, how you once
said, You know bcstl'
" I never shall, I feel it," she answered,
They went on together, and he pointed
out to her a golden patch of crocuses under
the old cedar, reminding her that she had
planted them years ago. Then he asked if
she would come down some day and help
him to pack away his greatest treasures in
the house, since previous experience had
proved that curates-in-charge were not versed
in the relative laws of mcum and tuum as re-
garded conscientious care of what was not
their own. She assented with an involun-
tary eagerness that struck him as pathetic.
But his cue was matter-of-fact coolness, his
excitability was well in hand, and he delibe-
rately avoided either glance or gesture that
should discover anxiety or suspense as still
dominant in his mind. He baffled her at
every point. There was neither resentment,
sarcasm, nor appeal about him. He was uni-
formly kind, but it was in a new style, com-
pounded of authority and indifference. When
Lily came in, and they had had a cup of tea,
he took them into the garden again to show
them some picotees in a frame ; but there was
none of the old whimsical enthusiasm in his
air, no epigrammatic turns of expression, his
individuality seemed to be effacing itself
under a reserve that chilled Juliet to the
"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 2 si
" When are you going ? " she asked, in
11 Very soon," he said, without looking at
" I don't know how I shall do without
your letters," she said, timidly.
" Don't you ? "
They were standing at the gate now, and
he held it open for them to pass through.
Juliet came last, her eyes dilated with anxi-
ous readiness for reciprocal anxiety in his ;
but, though he looked at her, it was with no
accession of warmth.
11 Good day ! ' he said, and took her hand
in a nerveless grasp, dropping it at once.
She was bewildered ; and yet by no means
could she have charged him with unkindness,
his manner was that of a friend to whom
friendship was all that was wished for. Had
she complained, it could only have led to the
inference that she wished for more than that.
But when they were gone he laid his
VOL. II. 17
arms along the gate, clasping his hands until
they were rigid and bloodless. In such a
grasp would he fain have held hers, and
kissed them afterwards to sweeten the grand
force of possession. Also his eyes filled with
tears, and his whole face with fire and keen-
ness. He watched the two figures until they
disappeared round the Lodge into the Park.
He thought that Juliet drooped a little.
" She was hurt. She did not like it.
My God ! how humble she was ! My
queen ! my queen ! '
Thus he whispered, and lay it warmly
home to feed Hope.
^^s ^^^ fc^
Some weeks passed, after Molly wrote to
Ormrod, without her receiving any answer,
and when it came it simply left her where
she was before, but for the harassing thought
that he could not have got her letter. His
touched on nothing serious, and was redolent
of airy satisfaction with himself and the world
in oreneral. He told her he was coming to
England presently, and should run down to
Moorhead. The only hint of a change con-
sisted in his signature, which seemed to her
explicit enough, since, instead of any endear-
ment, it merely recognized relationship, and
that in the baldest manner. She thought of
that happy day when she pelted him with
rose petals, and he compelled her to gravity,
" I can only wait," she said to Miss
But there was a long time to wait, and
suspense told upon her. She withdrew a
good deal into herself, her happy spirits were
damped, her step flagged, her eyes grew
wistful, and, above all, she shrank from eroin^
to Moorhead. She was sensitively conscious
that Mrs. Ormrod looked sharply at her,
that the neighbours were talking, and all her
■little world agog. Thus it happened that
Brunskill rarely saw her, and had not seen
her for some weeks, when, one day in June,
on coming out from afternoon school, he went
up to the Post Office. Old Mag YYoodrup
was knitting behind the counter, but speering
excitedly out of the window up the village
COM FLIC A TIONS. 2 6 1
street. She could just see the carpenter's
"Ormrods lad's turned up; but, my
certie, he's no lad now," she said.
Brunskill turned and went out again
without a word. By a roundabout way over
the Moors he reached the western end of the
Moss from whence he could look down on
Alderdale, lying far below in the narrowing
of the valley. He lay down in the ling, and
stared into "heaven's blue' until the stars
came out. There was a vague throbbing
thought in his heart of a " fiery furnace " ;
but mental tumult was too fierce for him to
connect it clearly either with Molly or him-
self until he at last rose to go home. Then,
as he pulled himself together, a light seemed
to dawn upon him. Hers would have been
the greater anguish that night ; but the awful
sting was surely over. She must know
now what Ormrod was, what he had done
and undone. It remained for her to live it
down, to rise above it, to perceive other
Brunskill's surmise was correct. Ormrod
had spent that evening at Alderdale — had,
indeed, come North with no other purpose.
It was, however, wholly because Juliet had
insisted upon his doing so. He had meant
to avoid it, as an unpleasantness which it
was desirable to avoid, like all other unplea-
santnesses. But he was beginning to find
that there was such a contingency as a cur-
rent too strong to stem without tact, promp-
titude, and exertion. In such a current had
he found himself before leaving Rome. His
flirtation with Evelyn Dalyrymple had pro-
gressed fast and furiously, carrying him, as
he himself confessed, beyond the bounds of
discretion. Her preference had shown itself
on every occasion ; he had been alternately
joked, quizzed, and congratulated, and had
found the whole thing trying to his temper,
since commiseration seemed most appro-
priate, and was just what no *one thought of
giving him. Every one took it as a matter
of course that he considered himself a lucky
fellow, and was proportionately happy ;
above all, Evelyn took it as a matter of
course, and was as happy as girl could be
under the infatuation that he did not actually
propose because his means were inadequate
even for an engagement with such as she,
his prospects not sufficiently assured, and
himself the soul of honour. She was by
this time passionately fond of him, and he
never flirted with any other girl when she
As, however, the excitement of affection
and suspense proved trying to her strength,
her evenings were curtailed, she left parties
earlier, and when relieved from the irksome-
ness of her clinging admiration that met him
at every turn and filled him with very sincere
dismay, he would smother reflection by rush-
ing into flirtation with some one whose
knowledge of the supposed understanding
with Evelyn, precluded danger.
Evelyn had been warned of her danger.
Her brother had not failed to give every
detail of his meeting with Juliet, and to
deduct the plainest conclusions. He told
Ormrod, too, of it, and watched him, with
the result of having his suspicions con-
firmed. He had not forgotten the " Sphinx ;"
his chief delight lay in working up that pic-
tured face ; he was looking forward to seeing
her again ; he had intentions in that direc-
tion, and they were serious. Outside this
attraction, women were mere pastimes, amuse-
ments for leisure hours, in precisely the same
way as men had, so far, formed objects of
amusement for Evelyn. Evelyn, however,
did not see this. She held that flirtation
was legitimate to eirls, but was utterlv in-
credulous of Ormrod bein^r a flirt. She
talked to him of Juliet, watched him jealously,
and satisfied herself that he did not care io\'
COM PLICA TIONS. 265
her ; he was too cool, too assured, too amused.
There was not the slightest doubt in her
own mind that she was the attraction, and
she turned from her brother in passionate
anger, when he still adhered obstinately to
his own opinions. In the end, the subject
was never named between them, her excite-
ment made it unsafe ; if an " early death '
were to be her portion, he did not wish to
have it on his conscience that he had hur-
ried her into it ; she was old enough to look
after herself, and he left her to do so.
She did it very badly, plunging deeper and
deeper into the quagmire of infatuation ; blind
to doubt or danger, and attributing the finest
of motives where there were either none, or
of the basest. .She lived in a dream — a mad
dream, that devoured her physically, and
steeped her in moral apathy ; reckoning time
by the hours and minutes that brought him
or took him away.
The first shock came, when he told her
he was leaving - for England in a day or two.
He would have crone without telling her, but
that he feared she might make a commotion ;
and — he had to come back again, and could
not afford to lose friends of the Dalyrymple
class. So he seized a quiet opportunity and
broke his news to her, representing them as
bad news to himself, and exacting her sym-
pathy as the preliminary to making her fully
understand that he wanted nothing from her.
When he saw how she took it, he was
devoutly thankful that tact had guided him
to quiet confidences ; though infinitely more
compromising, they prevented present an-
noyance. She cried and laughed by turns ;
first declaring she cared not a jot, then beg-
ging him to assure her he knew how much
she cared. He felt helpless with her ; she
was past exercising any self-control, and he
saw clearly that only in one way could he
control her, as she alternately raved of his
honour in not speaking, and implored him to
CO MP LTC A TIONS. 2 6 7
do so. As it was, she solemnly declared he
was killing her, she was dying by inches.
Her hectic flush, thin hands, and burning
eyes, testified to the truth of this ; her heavy
red hair was damp from exhaustion ; she
coughed at every pause. For once he was
alarmed ; not by the heinousness of his con-
duct, but by its results. Supposing she
were to break a blood-vessel that very mo-
ment, and die, " there would be the devil to
pay." He was quite certain in his own mind
that she would do so one day, but his faith in
Providence served him to the point of be-
lieving it could not happen so opportunely.
Something, however, must happen, that was
certain. He could not get away, for the simple
reason that she would not let him 0-0. She
was clinging to him convulsively, and look-
ing hideous, as he mentally commented, with
her swollen eyelids and piteous tears. He
cursed his folly in ever having carried on
with so plain a woman ; there was no fascina-
tion about her now, the moment of deadly
earnest had arrived, and it did not become
her. He thought of Juliet in deadly earnest ;
her exquisite smile of self-surrender ; her
large calm, 1 and the flash of her angry
contempt, that was so fine, so persuasive, so
captivating in its self-control. And when
he thought of her, he could have gnashed
his teeth and pushed Evelyn away from
him, risking all for liberty and Juliet. In-
stead of this, he applied himself as effectively
as possible to satisfying Evelyn, whom he
now loathed. He could only do it by de-
ceiving her. He took her in his arms, and
when she lifted her face to him, he kissed
her again and again.
Then he laid her on a couch while she
was still speechless from her new-found bliss,
and left the house. In an hour's time he
had left Rome too, praying, as well as he
knew how, that he might never see her
again, that — if there were no other way —
death might have taken her before he was
obliged to return.
With this rotten morality as the main-
spring of his actions, he went to Juliet. He
took her unawares, and almost before she
had realized that he was again with her, she
had engaged herself to him, passed her word
that she w T ould marry him.
It was done in the white heat of the
moment. Ormrod had returned to London
where the Quins then were, but as the Mom-
pessons were at Coombe, he could not see
Juliet. Juliet knew he was in London, but
was content to wait patiently.
They went up to town early in June,
arriving late one evening, and the following
morning Juliet went out to Burlington House.
She wanted — for some reason scarcely known
to herself — to see " Cyoeraeth ' before she
saw Ormrod. She had had a catalogue by
her since the opening of the Exhibition, it
had been sent her by Ormrod, with the page
turned down to two lines of her own poem,
and she knew exactly where to hnd the pic-
ture she wanted. She walked straight to it,
it was hung to every advantage, and was
already sold. It had commanded attention,
not onlv bv its freedom from conventional itv
and its weirdness, but by its high artistic
merit ; the modelling of the figure was
superb, the treatment excellent throughout ;
in spite of the visionary 'subject, the painting
of it was solid, and though sensitive, masterly.
And when Juliet saw it, she knew that it was
indeed herself w T ho was coming down through
those misty w r oods from the misty mountains.
Others, too, had recognized the likeness, and
drawn their own conclusions.
It was as she stood before it, lost in
thought, that Ormrod came into the room.
He was on his way to call upon her, and beg
her to come with him to see it ; but the
moment his eyes fell on that tall and quiet
figure, he knew he had no further to go. He
COMPLICA TIONS. 2 7 1
walked up behind her and uttered her name.
For an instant she remained motionless, then
turned slowly and met his passionate gaze
with eyes suddenly kindled into the subtlest
deeps of joy a woman's eyes can give ; they
were unutterably sweet and shy, and trustful
and compliant. She was blushing too, and,
although she was so still, he saw she was
trembling. He held out his hands, and
slowly and quietly, her face now averted, she
put hers in them. He drew her one step
nearer. Then came a tender whisper.
They sat down on a divan after that, and
before they got up again she had promised
to be his wife ; not, however, without his
having had to face another current, and that
so hopest, uncompromising, and decided, that
all tact of evasion was baffled, and conces-
sion alone could cover his arrant cowardice.
She insisted that he should go to Moorhead
and see Molly ; for Miss Gliddon, in answer
to a plain question, had told her he had not
2 72 JULIET.
formally broken off his engagement. Con-
sidering everything, he was thankful that her
spirit of inquiry had extended no further.
He did not know that she knew anything of
Evelyn Dalyrymple ; that she was marrying
him with open eyes, and made up her mind
that she must expect him to flirt with other
women without allowing it to affect her happi-
ness. She was never sufficiently infatuated
to think that marriage, even with her, would
sober him in respect to flirtation. She had
seen a good deal of the world, and knew
that he had the roving eye, the ready suscep-
tibility, the keen sense of beauty or fascina-
tion, which keeps a man alive to the pleasure
of pleasing and being pleased. But she
knew, too, in her honest sense, that was still
humble and grateful, that she was the only
woman who had exercised abiding influence
over him, and that he loved her as both true-
womanly and noticeable. This knowledge
was power. She dared to trust in it fully.
COMPLICA T10NS. 2 7 3
It had been a busy day at Alderdale ;
five of the neighbouring farmers had gathered
to help with the sheep-clipping, and when
Ormrod reached the brant above the bridge,
from whence he could see down into the
calf- garth, they were rolling up the fleeces
and piling them on a sledge, preparatory to
housing them. The newly-shorn sheep were
wending their way in an irregular white line
to the moors opposite, followed by a man,
and kept in unexcited order by two collie
dogs, who did all the work, with the excep-
tion of opening the gates. Ormrod sat down
and watched them, glad of any excuse for
lingering, and leaving himself as little time
as possible for Molly, As usual, however,
he covered the cowardly, self-interested rea-
son with a specious excuse — it would be
better, kinder, and more considerate to Molly
to let the men get away. If he went down
at once, he should run into their midst, and
every one would hail him and joke him, and,
VOL. IT. 1 8
for her sake, that would not do. So he sat
there nearly an hour, saw the cows driven up
for milking, the calves fed, the fleeces housed,
the tar-pots and branding spuds and shears
cleared away, and finally one man after
another strolling off with his collie at his heels.
But throughout it all Molly never came out ;
the kitchen lattice was opened once, and a
plant taken in from the outside sill, and he
concluded that the hand he saw for a moment
on the hasp was hers ; but otherwise there
was no sign of her presence, and in spite of
all the life about, the old place seemed sad
and silent, and without any welcome for him
as in the old days. He did not wait to
rap at the door, but entered, and in another
moment was standing just within the kitchen.
Molly only was there. She was sitting in a
rocking-chair, knitting, and wore one of the
well-remembered light cotton gowns with
pink sprigs. There was a bunch of wild
roses stuck in her belt. Her head, with its
COMPLICA TIONS. 2 7 5
golden-brown curls, was thrown back, and
her eyes were fixed upon the river — it was a
favourite habit to put her chair where she
could watch its swirl and sparkle as she
worked. She was like a gleam of sunshine
in the gloomy old place, with its wainscot
and panelled ceiling and cumbersome carven
He stood and looked at her, for she
had not heard his step, and was un-
conscious of any one being there ; and as
he looked, his heart softened, he no longer
wondered that he had ever loved her ; on
the contrary, he almost wondered that he
did not still.
Then he made a slight movement, and
she looked round, and started up with dilated
eyes and quickly-changing colour.
He went forward and shook hands with
11 Haven't you expected me ? How are
you ?' he asked.
She recovered herself instantly at that
" You are very much changed," she said.
" Am I ? ' he said, and the straight gaze
of her eyes was so pure and fearless that he
could find nothing more to say.
Molly, however, waited ; for what, she
could not have told ; she expected so little
from him, that the mere fact of his coming at
all, seemed as though it must fully satisfy
her ; and as he stood, downcast and uneasy,
his glance involuntarily fell on her hand, and
he saw that his ring was no longer there.
" What do you want ? ' she asked.
11 I want to talk to you," he said ; and all
the time he was thinking how bonnv she
was, and wondering what had possessed her
to cut her hair and conjure up those bewitch-
ing rings and curls that made her like a
picture of Sir Thomas Lawrence's. His cool
gaze of admiration made her cheeks burn,
and she realized how far he was now removed
Irom her, since he could as little venture
upon the old free-and-easy expressions as
she could expect them.
" We won't talk here," she said, steadily;
" Tamar will be coming" in, or Uncle. Let us
They went out, and got away from the
house without seeing any one, a fact for
which both were thankful. The evenine was
very quiet, the river glimmered in the amber
glow that stole into the valley between the
sloping of the westward hills, no breath of
air shook a leaf on the trees. It was some
time before either spoke. Ormrod had never
in his life been so much perplexed what to
say. They had certainly not met as lovers,
scarcely as cousins, the absence of his ring
on her finger must be a pregnant fact ; and
yet it was evident that nothing had to be
considered as a matter of course — except
explanation. As he walked he was involun-
tarily gathering flowers here and there —
deep pink wild roses, creamy woodbine,
crane's-bill, a buttercup or two ; and Molly
watched him, and gradually felt that the
whole idyll was too much for her. Nature's
loveliness was intolerable, mocking her at
every step. They came to a stile, and he
got over and then helped her. She held out
her hand before they went on again.
"Give me those flowers," she said.
" Give me them, will you, Noll ? "
She spoke sharply, and he looked down
at her. Their eyes met, and the agonized
wistfulness of hers could not but touch him,
but not to the old love, only with a vague,
transitory pity. She saw it was so, and
could not help crying out against it ; the
crowding bitterness overwhelmed her, and
she could not face without appeal this fate
that had overtaken her.
" Can't you be kind again ? ' she said.
What is it ? Who is between us ? Be
honest. Tell me the truth ; I can bear it."
COM PLICA TIONS. 2 7 9
A good man could not have dallied then ;
but he did, not knowing what anguish of sus-
pense, compliance would save her.
" What makes you think there is any
one ? ' he asked, softly, placing the flowers
in her hands, and allowing his fingers to
rest on hers with an affectionate reassuring
" Do you think I don't see, and feel, and
think ? ' she said passionately, gripping his
hand and then dashing it aside. " Haven't
I been thinking for months, and known long
ago that you were untrue, unfaithful, and
worse — a coward ? Don't you see that your
ring is gone ? I was not going to carry a lie
about with me where every one could see it ;
I took it off months ago, of my own free will,
but I have it yet, here," and she took out her
purse and the ring from it. " I thought I
would give it to you; but I won't — I can't.
You might give it to that other, and when
you looked at it you would think, ' Poor
2 8o JULIET.
Molly!' But I will not keep it, either. It
shall go for ever. So ! "
She had run to the edge of the Whern,
and now flung it into the strongest current
with all her might. She watched it fall and
disappear, then went back to him where he
stood motionless, amazed by her vehemence.
His quietude calmed her, and she turned and
leant against the stile until he broke the
silence by uttering her name. Then the
pent-up agony rushed forth. She held out
" Oh, Noll, Noll, can't you love me ? '
He bent down and took her hands,
moved irresistibly to truth.
11 I am a scoundrel ; you have given me
too much at my asking ; you have loved me
too well, Molly."
" I know," she said, " I know at last."
After that she £ot over the stile again
and he followed.
It was dusk now, shadows were creeping
into the folds and hollows of the hills, and
the stars were coming out. Above Blaes-
field there hung a mass of watery cloud,
whose edofes were being - touched with dim
gold, and presently they thinned and a light
shone through, then opening suddenly, re-
vealed the moon riding amid all the frag-
ments of white cloud that were drifting
across and around it. And as the night thus
crept apace, Ormrod and Molly Murdock
went lingeringly through this dreamland,
where, to them, all but remorse and grief
had merged into spaces of wan light and
solemn shadow ; he was talking, but she
paid no attention and did not seem to
He did not return to the Grange. She
took the way over the bridge, and when in
the pastures fell back to his side. At the
Moss gate she stopped and looked at him
with a smile.
2 82 JULIET.
" Perhaps it has all been a mistake. I
am willing to think so," she said, sweetly.
" Not from the first, I did love you-
" You thought you did," she interrupted.
In spite of the smile her face was hag-
gard and imploring.
"Don't fret, Molly," he said, "we are
both young, with ample time to atone for
such mistakes and try new chances of hap-
piness. There are better men than I in the
world, and you must let them make up to
you. You would not have been happy in
my new life ; it is so different, so exacting, so
conventional. You will be happier settled
here with a man in your own '
" Hush ! ' she said, imperatively, and
covered her face with her hands to hide the
burning flush he could not have appreciated.
The next moment he knew that the time for
parting was come, and at that moment he
longed to kiss her as of old.
But they had exchanged their last kiss.
He held her hand, begging for her friendly
thoughts, which she promised him ; and em-
boldened by her calmness, he drew nearer,
but she stepped back. Then she turned,
and he watched her down the hill before he
went on alone.
But he did not go back so quickly as he
he had come. He was susceptible, and there
had been something about Mollv that had
touched him beyond what he had ever
expected from her. She was no child, she
w r as free from gaucherie, she had taken the
initiative, and yet had held him at arm's
length, and the sensation had been salutary
to his conceit. He sat down and thought
about her. He could not get her bewitching-
bonniness out of his mind, he would have
liked to have sketched that piquant head, to
have been on free cousinly terms with her —
terms that would have admitted of the
snatching of a kiss. She had looked a little
lady as she sat in the rocking-chair, had
moved like a lady, and spoken with no more
of a Yorkshire accent than added to her
piquancy. But for his folly, she could have
stayed with them after Juliet and he were
married, Juliet would have liked her and
given her a chance at somebody better than
Brunskill ; she could have come out to Italy
to them, and enjoyed herself, and when pro-
perly dressed would have been a very charm-
ing little thing to have shown about. All
these reflections were of a character total iv
opposed to what he had intended, for he
had expected to be fully impressed by the
expediency of the step he was taking, from
the simple contrast of herself to his later
surroundings. The contrast, however, had
not coincided effectively with his new plans,
and instead of bein^r relieved, he was be-
grudging the loss of her winsome presence
from his life. It would be nice to have girls
to stay in the house after he was married
and settled ; of course, Juliet would not mind,
and Molly would have come in nicely among
others ; whereas he was feeling as though
the dismissal had been wholly on her side,
and he was pushed out into the cold. He
would have liked to be staying at Moor-
head a few days, and to have known there
was a warm welcome for him at the Grange
any hour. This, however, there was not.
All was over between them — a fact which he
found almost as much difficulty in realizing,
as did Molly, at that moment alone in her
room with face buried in her hands, and an
agony of love throbbing in her heart. He
was turning his back upon Alderdale for
ever ; and strange to say, the thought chilled
him, chilled him indeed so far as to keep
him at Moorhead the following clay for the
sole purpose of crossing the Moss again in
the evening, and watching the Grange from
the hollow where the rowan trees overhung
the little brook, in hopes of seeing Moll)
again. He thought sentimentally of his
wooing of her in that very hollow, and
wondered jealously how long it would be,
before she allowed Brunskill to woo and win
her. He was disappointed that she had not
asked whom he was eoinQf to woo and win ;
he would have been proud to confess that it
was Juliet Laybourne, who, years ago, had
been so immeasurably above him. and more-
over, that she had cared for him even then.
But Molly had shown no curiosity, and he
had not the instinct to fathom her silence,
and know that the question had trembled
too feverishly on her lips to bear safe utter-
ance. She had voluntarily kept herself
ignorant, but in the see-saw of her own
speculations, she was dismissing Evelyn
Dalyrymple from her burning envy and
resentment, and centring all realization of
the blow round Juliet. As days and weeks
passed, rhey brought her much enlighten-
ment, she even came to the conclusion that
Orm-od had not taken that hasty journey
CO MP LIC A TIONS. 2 8 7
Xorth a year ago, to testify to his solicitude
for her, but to see Juliet. Enlightenment,
however, made her the more morbidly sen-
sitive. Throughout that Summer she kept
her trouble to herself. Others guessed it,
but £iiessin£ had- to suffice them. She con-
fided in no one, calmly parried all inquisi-
tive questioning from Mrs. Ormrod, ignored
Tamars awkward attempts at sympathy,
avoided the Gliddons, and felt that her heart
was never so near breaking as when she came
across Brunskill. It was with him that she
was most deadlily heart -sick, not that he
obtruded himself in any way, it was his quiet
unobtrusiveness, his gravity, and the quick
lowering of his eyes from anxious obser-
vation the moment hers met them, that made
her feel his genuine worth in contrast with
the other's worthlessness. It was Brunskill,
too, to whom at present she least wished the
truth to he known. Instinct told her to what
hopes his heart would "instantly leap, and it
gave her acute pain to think of him with
such hopes, for he deserved so much and
she had so little then to give him, that she
thought she never could have more. As
yet she loved the sinner, and did not know-
how love can rise and live again, phcenix-
like, from its own ashes.
END 01-" vol. n.
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